The opioid crisis is an ongoing and growing problem in our area. One deputy with the Craven County Sheriff's Office had it impact him particularly hard a few years ago.
Brian Peluso is a senior investigator with the Craven County Sheriff's Office. He primarily deals with property crime. He said the crimes all tie back to one thing.
"At least 90 percent of every theft that we have in Craven County is for the purpose of buying narcotics," Peluso said.
He said the opioid crisis touches his life and work here in Eastern North Carolina a lot. Three years ago, while working a drug bust, it touched his life directly.
"It was almost, What I was dealing with was almost packaged identical to this, except there was another bag that was over top of it and this knot was not very tight so when I opened the first outer bag, everything that was in-between the two bags just shot up right into my face," Peluso said.
"I ingested the drug into my nasal cavity, got into my eyes, into my throat and into my lungs. It caused chemical burns on the surface of my face and I did have to go to the hospital for several hours to be monitored to make sure I wasn't going to have respiratory failure or anything like that."
Luckily, he walked away without permanent damage to hsi health. But if it happened today, he said he would be lucky to survive at all.
"Luckily, the narcotic that I ingested did not have any fentanyl or carfentanyl in it," Peluso said. "At that time, we were not really seeing a lot of that in our streets.
"That has changed now. almost 90% of heroin that we seize does have a variation of fentanyl or carfentanyl in it."
It's one of the reasons they are working hard to get the drugs off the streets and prevent scary accidents like this from happening to others.
"We are working hand-in-hand with the district attorney's office to try to get maximum sentencing and maximum penalties to these offenders so that we can put the message out there it's just not going to be tolerated here," Peluso said.
Statistics say three people die in North Carolina every day from opioid overdoses.
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