Surfside Beach police battle increase in heroin calls

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Surfside Beach police are joining other law enforcement agencies in Horry and Georgetown Counties to fight back against heroin dealers and users.

Surfside Beach officials report a small increase in the number of heroin overdoses, but even a small uptick in heroin use or crimes related to the drug is enough to bring officers and town leaders together to tackle the issue head-on.

“Heroin and opium addiction is affecting every community in the Grand Strand, including the Town of Surfside,” admits Lt. Kenneth Hofmann with the Surfside Beach Police Department.

The department’s first order of business will be to get the community involved with a heroin and opiate drug symposium.

“So we can just bring all these stakeholders together and work together to try to come up with a solution to minimize the impact of heroin addiction and other opioid addiction,” urges Lt. Hofmann.

Heroin affects more than just the addict, and part of Surfside Beach’s plan is to address the family members working to keep their families together, and in some cases, keep their family members alive.

“It’s not just the person that is dealing with the addiction, but their families that are dealing with the addiction,” recognizes Lt. Hofmann. The plan to rid Surfside Beach of the deadly drug must include more than simply putting the users in jail.

“We don’t want criminal action or law enforcement action that results in incarceration to be the first line of defense to this addiction, we want it to be the last resort,” says Lt. Hofmann.

Community activist Bennie Swans is working with Surfside Beach Police and says the time to take control of the heroin wave is now.

“It is devastating,” says Swans. “If we don’t take a position today, then unfortunately I think we will regret it for years to come.”

The Heroin and Opiates Symposium in Surfside Beach will be held at First Baptist Church of Surfside, located at 711 16th Ave N., February 27 at 6:30 p.m.