Pender County Sheriff: Violent crime decreasing, heroin use increasing

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PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The Pender County Sheriff’s Office is seeing less violent crime in the area, but more heroin use.

Pender County Sheriff Carson Smith also said heroin use is on the rise in the county and they do not have enough resources for users to get help.

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“Heroin is actually cheaper than the prescription pills on the streets which has led to a dramatic increase over just the past year or two in heroin use,” Smith said.

Smith said, when deputies get a call about heroin, they find a different situation than they do with other drugs.

“The thing that is most disturbing as sheriff when it comes to heroin, we’re getting called, when we get there, and many times the people are dead,” Smith said.



Kenny House, the clinical director at Coastal Horizons in Wilmington, said heroin affects more than just the user.

“The danger of heroin, well beyond overdose, has to do with its highly addictive nature and what happens in the life of a person and the life of the people around them,” House said.

House said the need for treatment is also growing in Pender County.

“In Pender County, we pretty much provide a full array of outpatient services, but there are limited services related to treating addiction specific to opioids,” House said.

Smith said the county needs more help for users, because law enforcement can only do so much.

“The only recourse we have sometimes is to charge them, because usually some type of crime surrounds them being a user, and that might be the wrong way to do it in some cases,” Smith said.

House said Coastal Horizons is working on expanding their services in Pender County.

“We are actively looking for medical providers,” House said.

Meanwhile, Smith said deputies need the public’s help trying to get dealers off the streets. He also said, by the end of June, deputies will be trained and equip with Naloxone nasal spray kits to reverse the affects of an opioid overdose.

“Because most of the time, we get to the scene before EMS does and if there is anything we can do to give that person a second chance, we are,” Smith said.

The Pender County Coastal Horizons Center is located behind the Health Department in Burgaw. They can be reached at 910 392-7306.