City of Gastonia and Gastonia Police Launch Campaign to Fight Fentanyl Abuse

Combined Effort with Other Agencies to Break the Cycle of Addiction

The Gastonia Police Department (GPD), in conjunction with the Gaston County Police Department, the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, the Gastonia Fire Department, Gaston Emergency Medical Services (GEMS), and the Gaston County District Attorney’s Office, is seeking the public’s help to combat drug-related overdoses and deaths in Gastonia and Gaston County.

Gastonia Police investigators have determined that fentanyl mixed with various drugs, such as cocaine, that are not typically associated with fentanyl or opioid use, has contributed to the sharp increase in overdoses that the City of Gastonia is experiencing.

“We know this is a major issue in our communities and while law enforcement works to get rid of this substance, we also want people to know the devastating impact on the lives of users and their families,” said Gastonia Police Chief Travis Brittain. “We all have to work together to get this substance out of our communities and direct users to get help.”

Overdose statistics in Gaston County:

  • In 2020, GPD investigated 49 overdoses with 20 of those overdoses resulting in a death.
  • In 2021, the number of overdoses increased by 69% while the number of fatal overdoses remained at 20.
  • From January 1 to June 14 of this year, GPD has investigated 98 overdoses with 14 overdoses resulting in a death. If this trend continues the rest of the year, GPD will see approximately 200 overdoses and 29 deaths as a result of an overdose.

When first responders arrive on a call, it is not just one person involved. “It’s a common occurrence to have multiple patients at an overdose call. Where previously we just had one, now we may experience two or three patients,” said Deputy Fire Chief Brad Best.

Representatives from the agencies mentioned above collaborated to create a public service announcement (PSA) video discussing the significant increase of drug-related overdoses and deaths. The video also provides a list of services available to those who are struggling with addiction. The 8-minute video will be placed on social media posts, YouTube channels, and other partner agencies will use it as well.