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  • The coroner in New Orleans says alcohol and fentanyl killed a student from South Carolina who was left at a hospital after watching parades and partying before Mardi Gras. A statement for Ciaya Whetstone's family says they are distraught that she "may have been the victim of a spiked substance." The family's lawyers say they want information from police and Uber. The coroner says the 21-year-old student died about 7 a.m. on Feb. 19 at a hospital in eastern New Orleans. Her roommate told The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate in February that after returning home via Uber, Whetstone said she was leaving with the driver to look for her car.
  • State health officials say drug overdose deaths in South Carolina increased by more than 50% after the COVID-19 pandemic started. Final figures from death certificates show 1,734 people died in drug overdoses in South Carolina in 2020, a 53% increase from the 1,131 deaths reported in 2019. The state Department of Health and Environmental Control says 1,400 of those 2020 overdose deaths were caused by opioids and fentanyl was involved in 79 percent of those fatal opioid overdoses.
  • Substance abuse counselors in rural Barnwell County and urban Rock Hill say at-risk residents (including teens) trying to cope with the pandemic's isolation and stress met a market where phony opioids replaced prescription pills. They describe the situation as 'alarming.'