Source: NC Department of Justice
As overdoses linked to fentanyl continue to increase statewide, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein remains committed to leading efforts to fight the fentanyl crisis.
In a press release, Attorney General Stein announced the opening of the renovated Drug Chemistry and Toxicology sections of the North Carolina State Crime Lab’s Raleigh location. According to the release, the renovation will improve the lab’s operation – making it more efficient, in an effort to hold drug traffickers accountable and keep North Carolinians safe.
“The State Crime Lab plays a critical role in testing evidence swiftly and providing law enforcement with the analysis they need to get deadly fentanyl off of our streets,” stated Attorney General Josh Stein in the release. “I’ll do everything in my power to rid our state of this scourge.”
This announcement comes after the Attorney General called for investments toward the creation of a Fentanyl Control Unit within the North Carolina Department of Justice’s Special Prosecutions and Law Enforcement Section. The control unit would “help local district attorneys handle large-scale fentanyl trafficking, wiretap, and overdose cases”.
“In Buncombe County and across North Carolina, we have seen a sustained uptick in both overdose deaths and prosecutions of people responsible for bringing and selling fentanyl in our communities,” stated Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams. “I applaud the Attorney General’s efforts to deliver more resources to prosecute people engaged in trafficking fentanyl, reduce use, and save lives throughout our state.”
According to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services records, 4,041 people died from an overdose in 2021, marking it the highest-ever number of state overdose deaths in a single year.
In addition, the NCDHHS recorded over 77 percent of North Carolina overdose deaths in 2021 were likely involved with fentanyl.