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Attorney General Josh Stein says North Carolina needs a new unit to combat fentanyl

2 mg. Fentanyl. A lethal dose in most people. The diameter of the U.S. penny is 19.05 mm, or 0.75 inches.
United States Drug Enforcement Administration, Public domain
Wikimedia Commons
2 mg. Fentanyl. A lethal dose in most people. The diameter of the U.S. penny is 19.05 mm, or 0.75 inches.

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein says he needs funding to create a "Fentanyl Control Unit" in order to address rising opioid deaths. If approved by the state legislature, the new unit would become part of the North Carolina Department of Justice’s Special Prosecutions and Law Enforcement Section.

The unit would aid district attorneys with large-scale fentanyl trafficking, wiretap and overdose cases.

In 2021, more than 70,000 people died of fentanyl overdose in the United States. North Carolina is experiencing similar increases; in 2022, fentanyl rose to become the number two drug found in drug evidence tested at the state crime lab.

Mecklenburg County continues to see more than 200 overdose deaths a year, a surge that's being driven by opioids. In 2021, the last full year of data available, 230 people died — the largest number the county has seen in at least 20 years. That's almost eight times the number of deaths in 2001.

“Fentanyl is deadly and highly addictive,” said Stein, who is running for governor, in a news release. “Even as we interdict more fentanyl at the border than ever before, too many North Carolinians overdose from fentanyl and are dying. We must hold those who peddle this poison accountable and take them off our streets. I look forward to working with leaders in the legislature to strengthen our state’s ability to prosecute these cases and save lives."


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Sarah Delia is a Senior Producer for Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.