CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston County Coroner’s Office has been awarded a three-year grant to combat opioid deaths.

The Charleston County Coroner’s Office will team up with five other coroners offices in the area “to improve inter-county opioid investigation protocols, faster uploading of data to national stakeholder databases, and more accurate regional opioid death statistics, which will be provided to local, state, and federal agencies that analyze opioid-related mortality rates.”

The $280,000 grant will be used to hire a forensic analyst to study fatal overdoses in the region.

Coroner Bobbi Jo O’Neal said that “Charleston County and the Lowcountry region have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic.”

So far in 2022, the Charleston County Coroner’s Office has confirmed 146 unintentional opioid/drug-related deaths, with 40 suspected cases still pending toxicology testing. 2021 saw 183 unintentional opioid/drug-related deaths.

O’Neal said that the office is honored to receive the funds.