Community Owned. Local News. Burke County, NC.
Our series: The Fentanyl epidemic in Burke County

Lethal doses: Fentanyl deaths skyrocket as use of powerful synthetic opioid increases

This small amount represents a lethal dose of fentanyl.
The numbers are terrifying. So far this year, in only five months, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office has confiscated enough fentanyl to theoretically kill all 87,000 residents of Burke County. And …

Quiet killer: The facts on fentanyl

This small amount of fentanyl is enough to kill an adult human.
WHAT IS FENTANYL? Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that was introduced in the 1960s and that is used for pain relief and as an anesthetic. It is colorless and odorless so it is hard to decipher from …

Hell on earth: User describes horrific effects of fentanyl addiction


There’s no sugar-coating what it feels like to be a fentanyl addict. It’s a horror movie. Just ask Savannah Collins. For a full quarter of her life, Collins, 20, has endured the living hell of …

Officer Crump recounts frightening fentanyl incident


A routine arrest turned into a nightmare for Sam Crump. Last winter, Warrant Sgt. Crump, a 24-year veteran of the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, was assisting the Drexel Police Department and …

'It's in everything': Fentanyl ubiquitous on drug scene


By some accounts, fentanyl users know exactly what they’re doing when they partake of the highly addictive, synthetic opioid. The first time Savanna Hall did fentanyl, she had no idea. Hall was a …

Wrecking ball: Fentanyl epidemic still destroying lives 3 years after initial surge

The fentanyl epidemic began in Burke County more than three years ago but the death toll continues to climb.

Taylor Setzer-Calvert clearly remembers when the fentanyl epidemic hit Burke County, and she’s still amazed at how quickly the deadly synthetic opioid began wrecking lives here. Since then, things …

Lifesaving fentanyl overdose efforts backfire for Drexel police sergeant


Drexel Police Sergeant Travis Butler was only trying to save a man’s life. In the process, he could have lost his own. In early May, he responded to an overdose call just outside the city limits of …

An editorial

The Paper provides a 'closer look' at Burke issues

One of the great things about being a weekly newspaper is the extra time it gives our news staff to go beyond surface reporting and take a closer look at issues that are having a great impact on our community.

This series is about the fentanyl epidemic in Burke County.

Other stories about drugs in Burke County

Doctor who inspired 'Dopesick' character offers insight at community forum

Dr. Stephen Loyd answers a question while Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson, State Health Director and Chief Medical Officer of North Carolina, looks on during Wednesday's forum.
Effectively countering the opioid epidemic will require a fundamental shift in the way society views addiction and those suffering from it. That was part of the message Dr. Stephen Loyd shared …

For Carswell, the fight against substance abuse is personal

Burke County Commissioner Johnnie Carswell raises his hand as he stands with officials from the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners during his inauguration as the organization's president last Saturday in Raleigh.
The substance abuse and opioid epidemic is a subject near and dear to the heart of Burke County Commissioner Johnnie Carswell. That’s why he’s making the dilemma the focus of his initiative as …

Drug use impacting more and more young Americans

Drug use is an increasingly difficult problem for young adults in America; from students in and out of university, high school students, or the younger generation in general.  Around half of …
A column

Taking steps to combat the Opioid/Fentanyl epidemic in North Carolina

Opioid overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death in North Carolina. In 2021, over 4,000 North Carolinians died from using this most dangerous class of drugs.Particularly distressing is that …

Deadly invasion: xylazine newest threat on drug scene

Dr. Thomas Meek of The Cognitive Connection in Hickory speaks to the Burke Substance Abuse Network about the dangers of Xylazine, a horse tranquilizer that has infiltrated the illicit drug supply all over the nation.

Medical personnel and law enforcement agencies admit they have only a tenuous grasp on the devastating fentanyl epidemic. Now, another drug threatens to make the situation much worse. Xylazine, an …

Carswell to use new office to push for better treatment options for opioid abuse

Congratulations to Burke County Commissioner Johnnie Carswell on two counts. First, Carswell was sworn in last weekend as the new president of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, …