Surge of suspected drug overdoses in Raleigh County; two die - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Surge of suspected drug overdoses in Raleigh County; two die

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A surge of suspected drug overdoses in Raleigh County is being investigated by multiple law enforcement agencies.

Since last Friday, two of the suspected overdoses have resulted in deaths. According to Lt. Larry Lilly, on Friday in Coal City, law enforcement received a call regarding a dead person and another person that was unresponsive, but still alive.

On the same night, in the next town over, in Sophia, another person is suspected of overdosing. That person was able to survive.

Then on Sunday, back in Coal City, another person died. Lilly said all of these instances are being investigated as suspected heroin overdoses.

"The circumstances at the scene did lead us to believe that these were indeed overdoses. Obviously we are keeping all of our options open and keeping an open mind going into this investigation, but that is what we believe it to be at this time, is heroin," Lilly said.

A resident of the Sophia and Coal City area told 59News what he's heard in his tight-knit community.

"I've heard that it wasn't just heroin, I've heard it's Krokodil. It had hype in Russia but that's the rumor, is that it's hit this area," said Ben Hazelwood.

Hazelwood said unfortunately this wasn't shocking news.

"It wasn't surprising because I know how this area is and how people are. It's not just here or just in Raleigh County, or just in Southern West Virginia. Drugs are everywhere, the drugs will always be here," he told us.

He shared what'd he'd like to see done to combat the supposed drug epidemic.

"We have the suboxone clinics and all the different treatment programs around here, but it's not enough. More needs to be done to help people and not just stick them behind bars and let them out 6 months later to get back on the same track they were on before," said Hazelwood.

The State Medical Examiner is reviewing the autopsy of the two that died. The Raleigh County Sheriff's Office Detective Bureau is joined in the investigation by the Beckley-Raleigh County Drug and Violent Crimes Unit.