HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County has the highest number of suspected opioid overdoses in South Carolina, according to data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC).

At Tuesday’s public safety meeting, Horry County Coroner Robert Edge told members that drugs continue to be a big problem in the county.

“The drug war is still going,” Edge said.

“In the last three months, we’ve had 45 calls,” he said. “I can tell you what they’re going to come back and they’re going to come back mostly with fentanyl, heroin, or cocaine.”

In August, total suspected overdoses were 17% higher than August 2020 but 3% lower than July, according to the data.

Horry County had the highest number of suspected opioid overdoses in August with 174, which is almost twice as much as the next-highest county, according to the data.

By population, Horry County was the second-highest, behind Union County.

Nicole Criss, executive director at FAVOR Grand Strand, said there is more fentanyl on the streets than there has been in the past.

The street of Horry County are where DHEC said the highest number of opioid overdoses in August have occurred. Rehabilitation organizations said drugs being laced is part of the problem.

“Today it’s not necessarily every person who dies is because they’ve had substance use disorder,” Criss said. “It could be the kid who tries it for the first time and gets a bad batch and the next thing you know, they’re dead.”

Criss said her organization is pushing for access to more Narcan doses and fentanyl test strips.

“Ideally in a perfect world, nobody would use any illicit substances, but we don’t live in that world today, unfortunately,” Criss said. “The only thing that we can do is do our best to better prevent these horrible deaths and tragic deaths, long enough for people to decide they are ready to get into recovery and begin their recovery journey.”

Criss said she’s unfortunately seen fewer people looking for help. She said one way to help is to end the stigma.

“Not enough people in our community see that recovery does happen and it is happening in the lives of millions and millions of people everyday in our country, but people have to live long enough to get to it,” she said.

For more information, visit the FAVOR Grand Strand website.

For more information on drug rehab centers in Horry County and your area, go to addicted.org.