MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCBD) – The number of people dying from accidental drug overdoses in Berkeley County is dramatically increasing, according to Berkeley County’s Chief Deputy Coroner Darnell Hartwell.

Hartwell said it’s something unlike what they have seen before.

“In the month of September, the Berkeley County Coroner’s Office saw an uptick in drug-related deaths here in Berkeley County,” said Hartwell. “We are seeing multiple calls of drug-related deaths on the same day.”

The coroner’s office has had three cases in the past year where multiple people died in the same house.

“The residents where we are seeing multiple deaths, unfortunately, are husbands and wives, that we are seeing,” he said.

Leaving some children without both parents.

“And to not just let them know that mommy or daddy is not with us but to let them know that they’re both no longer with us — that is a very tough and difficult job that we have to do,” said Hartwell.

The top three ways people died in Berkeley County in 2022 are 19 suicides by gunshots, 29 car accidents, and 38 accidental overdoses.

However, that does not include 18 cases pending. The coroner’s office believes 13 of those were also overdoses in September. That means up to 51 people have died due to overdoses this year.

“The month of September seemed to be a pretty busy month for our office, and from what I understand, neighboring corner offices as well. It makes us believe there may be a batch of bad drugs that’s going around in the Lowcountry.”

Fentanyl seems to be a common denominator, sold in colorful pills, fake prescription medication and even laced with marijuana.

What can be done to stop this? They are working to help law enforcement gather evidence to prosecute drug dealers.

“If your loved one or you suspect your loved one, is using and they’re willing to have assistance, The Ernest E. Kennedy Center in Moncks Corner and Goose Creek is willing to help.”

The coroner’s office is also planning to offer meetings to family members who are going through these situations.

For ways you can get help, or to help others, please click on the following link: