HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - With heroin and fentanyl front and center, another dangerous drug appears to be surging on the streets in Horry County.
According to the Horry County Police Department, recent numbers show a dramatic spike in methamphetamine.
In 2017, the department’s drug lab processed 89 items of meth evidence. Last year, that number was nearly five times the amount at 431. So far this year, the department’s processed more than 70 items from meth cases.
“It’s very surprising. It’s a very significant jump and our investigators have been looking and trying to be aware of what might be causing that spike and see if we can address that," said Horry County Police Capt. John Harrelson.
Harrelson said most of the hundreds of items of meth HCPD has seized aren’t coming from traditional drug labs. Instead, police are encountering so-called “one-pot” setups.
“They use a variety of different types of containers, sometimes soda bottles, and basically what they do is they put the ingredients in that and it creates the chemical reaction that produces meth," said Harrelson.
While it’s hard to pinpoint a specific reason behind the surge, Harrelson said there’s an alarming misconception that meth is somehow safer than other drugs.
“We would argue as law enforcement that any illegal drug is inherently dangerous because of the lack of safeguards in the way that it’s produced. There’s no FDA for illegal drugs," he said.
Harrelson said heroin continues to be the most common drug police encounter. Meth has come a close third to fentanyl, even surpassing fentanyl some months.