Charleston County coroner receives grant to help investigate opioid-related deaths

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County Coroner’s Office has received a more than $54,000 grant to help investigate drug-related deaths.

According to the coroner’s office, the funds – which total $54,924 – will be used to hire a ‘Special Opioid Medicolegal Death Investigator’ who will focus on the opioid epidemic and drug-related deaths within the county.

“Charleston County has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. We are honored to have been awarded funds that will provide for a Special Opioid Medicolegal Death Investigator who will focus on the specific needs of drug-related death investigations, engage with community stakeholders, and provide needed resources to surviving families,” said Coroner Bobbi Jo O’Neal.

The grant comes from the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant, which is administered by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs.

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office was previously awarded funds for this project in 2018. They said these funds are a continuation of that project.

Officials with the coroner’s office said 180 unintentional opioid/drug-related deaths were investigated in 2020. This year, they confirmed 142 unintentional opioid/drug-related deaths with 41 cases pending toxicology testing but suspicious for an overdose.

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