Sheriff says stimulus checks are possible reason for recent spike in overdose deaths

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 8:47 PM EDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A significant spike in drug overdose deaths is keeping Jackson County Sheriff’s deputies busy.

Sheriff Ross Mellinger and his deputies are tasked with solving these cases.

“Jackson County is about a 29,000 county so five in a month is high for us, and we have been able to make an arrest in three of the five so far, which is pretty significant,” Sheriff Mellinger said. “I just think it is important to hold these people accountable for these sorts of things. It is very easy to say it is a substance abuse issue and community issue and pass it off as that.”

The drugs in these cases are no joke. Fentanyl is a deadly and powerful drug sometimes used to lace drugs like meth and heroin.

According to a complaint, deputies say a man identified as Harold Scarberry Jr., of Ravenwsood, died after using drugs laced with fentanyl.

Deputies were able to arrest two people, Kristina Mccue and Damen Morgan, for allegedly selling Scarberry the drugs.

“Fentanyl comes in on the back end of these unintentionally, and that is what is scary about these is people often times aren’t consuming the fentanyl intentionally. It’s mistaken or added to another cocktail of a substance,” Mellinger said.

The sheriff said a lot of times drug activity is related to income influx, saying the recent stimulus checks could play a role.

“In this particular case, often time towards the first time of the month, you might have a spike or a peak in drug activity. Anytime you have a round of money coming out, you are going to have an influx of narcotics and traffic,” Mellinger said.

Deputies continue to connect the dots on tough cases, hoping to put those who played a role in these deaths behind bars.

Mellinger said the two suspects arrested are facing charges of delivery of a controlled substance resulting in death.

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