CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston Police Department says overdoses related to fentanyl-laced drugs are on the rise in the area.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine. 

CPD says the drug is nearly undetectable and is being mixed into other street drugs like cocaine, heroin, crack, Xanax, MDMA, and more.

Out of 46 fatal overdoses in the City of Charleston in 2021, 30 of them involved fentanyl. So far in 2022, CPD has responded to 13 non-fatal overdoses. A majority of them are believed to have stemmed from fentanyl-laced cocaine.

CPD’s Forensic Services Lab tested 135 samples that were positive for fentanyl in 2021.

To reduce the risk of overdosing from fentanyl-laced drugs, Charleston Center, Charleston County’s drug and alcohol treatment center, is offering free fentanyl test kits and Narcan. Narcan is the overdose reversal drug.

“We just want our folks to be safe, ” said Caitlin Kratz, the Program Administrator for the Opioid Treatment Program at the Charleston Center. “We can provide fentanyl test strips and Narcan in a really safe, confidential space.”

You can use the test strips to detect the presence of fentanyl in a substance by mixing a small amount of the substance with water and placing the strip in the mixture.

“We want to take away the stigma of it. We have resources here to help you. If you’re feeling not so comfortable to come down to the Charleston Center, still give us a call and we can make safe, confidential arrangements so you can still get fentanyl test strips,” said Kratz.

To contact Charleston Center, call (843) 958-3300 or click here.