Area law enforcement agencies said Tuesday they believe a large seizure of heroin in Wayne County Monday could help curb the amount of the narcotic in the area, at least temporarily.
"I think it will definitely help curb it," said Maj. Dwayne Dean, head of the Goldsboro Police Department's Operations Bureau. "Any drug that comes into the county can make its way into the city, because it's meant for the whole county. I think it will help the issues we're having here."
The Wayne County Sheriff's Office Drug Unit and agents from the Raleigh office of the Drug Enforcement Administration seized 5 kilograms of "pure" heroin from 4592 Emmaus Church Road in Mount Olive Monday.
Wayne County Sheriff Larry Pierce called it one of the largest heroin seizures in county history.
It had an estimated street value of $7 million, and could be divvied up into approximately 250,000 individual doses.
Law enforcement in surrounding counties are well aware of the heroin and opioid crisis, also.
"We've seen and uptick in heroin use over the past few years," said Lt. Marcus Smith with the Sampson County Sheriff's Office. "We've certainly had a few overdoses related to heroin in our county."
Smith said the battle against narcotics is an ongoing effort.
"Any efforts made to combat that problem we certainly welcome and appreciate," Smith said.
Sampson County is wedged between Wayne County and Brunswick County, where Wilmington is located.
In 2016, a report from a San Francisco-based health care information company ranked Wilmington as having the highest rate of opioid abuse in the nation.
Smith said I-40 runs through Sampson County to Wilmington, and law enforcement there have made seizures on the highway in recent years of large shipments of heroin coming from the northern part of the country to the "Port City."
"We don't typically see anything coming from the coast to us," Smith said. "Normally it's coming through us to get to the coast."
Smith said he believed the recent seizure of heroin in Wayne County could help curb some of that traffic, if only briefly.
"I'm sure it will have some kind of negative effect on their market and a positive effect for us," Smith said. "But it's probably short lived because, unfortunately, you get one and somebody else moves in and takes their place, and that's with any narcotic, not just heroin."
Capt. Jeff Caldwell of the Criminal Investigations Division at the Johnston County Sheriff's Office said the county in which he serves has a "very similar" problem with heroin and opioids as Wayne County.
In the last few years, Caldwell said, the county has logged several overdose deaths.
He said the problem has surged in the area in the past year and a half and hopes Monday's seizure in Wayne County can slow the flow of the narcotic in the county.
"That could certainly damper the flow here," Caldwell said. "There's no way of knowing for sure its destination, but I'm sure it was going to be a lot of places."
Heroin and opioid addiction is a national crisis that has slid its long tendrils into many areas of North Carolina -- Wayne County included.
This month alone, the Goldsboro Police Department has recorded 10 overdoses, bringing the total number of overdoses for the year to date to more than 50, according to data collected from law enforcement.
There were two overdoses recorded in the city as recently as Monday.
In one of those incidents, a victim told police he mixed heroin and cocaine together, which caused him to lose consciousness.
In the other reported overdose Monday, a woman was found unresponsive in Room 14 of the Carolina Motel at 2316 N. William St.
EMS personnel gave the woman narcan to treat the overdose.
Dean said officers with the agency do not currently carry narcan, which is an antidote to a heroin or opioid overdose.
Wayne County sheriff's deputies, however, do have narcan, also known as naloxone, on hand.
The antidote is not a cure or a permanent fix, but helps people in the grips of an overdose regain consciousness.
In 2016, the Police Department recorded 66 reported overdoses.