Crime & Public Safety

Third person dead in Beaufort County after suspected drug overdose, deputies say

A man in his early 30s was found dead Saturday evening at Plantation Point Apartments in Bluffton after a suspected drug overdose, according to a report from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

It is at least the third suspected fatal drug overdose in Beaufort County since Jan. 1. More than a dozen non-fatal overdoses have been reported in the county so far this year.

Deputies responded around 5:35 p.m. to a call for an unconscious person at 897 Fording Island Road. The man was found lying on the floor next to the bed in the master bedroom when EMS arrived, according to the report.

A witness told deputies that the man had been up all night drinking beer and using drugs.

While on the scene, deputies found “several items that indicated drug use during the evening,” including a crack pipe and blue pills.

After seeing a significant drop in drug overdose fatalities in 2018, Beaufort County appears to once again be experiencing a surge in overdoses overall.

It is a trend that Capt. Bob Bromage, public information officer for the sheriff’s office, has called “disturbing.”

On Jan. 25, a 21-year-old woman was found face down and in the fetal position with a syringe next to her in shower of a Bluffton home. It was her second overdose in 12 hours, according to deputies. She was pronounced dead at Hilton Head Hospital.

The next evening, a man was found dead by his roommates in a Chinaberry Ridge home on Hilton Head Island. The man was discovered unconscious on the floor of the bathroom with “suspicious items sitting on the sink next to (him), possibly drug paraphernalia,” including a white powdery substance, according to deputies.

In 2017, 26 people died from drug overdoses across Beaufort County, according to Janet Horton, the county’s administrative deputy coroner. The following year, there were 12 overdose deaths in the county.

Neither Coroner Ed Allen nor Deputy Coroner David Ott were available for comment Monday afternoon.

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Columnist and senior editor Liz Farrell graduated from Gettysburg College with a degree in political science and writes about a wide range of topics, including Bravo’s “Southern Charm.” She has lived in the Lowcountry for 15 years, but still feels like a fraud when she accidentally says “y’all.”