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Berkeley County sheriff nominee given Narcan, arrested

Photo submitted to The Journal John Orem, Republican candidate for Berkeley County Sheriff, is led into the Berkeley County Judicial Center in handcuffs Tuesday morning. Orem has been charged with possession of heroin.
Photo submitted to The Journal
John Orem, Republican candidate for Berkeley County Sheriff, is led into the Berkeley County Judicial Center in handcuffs Tuesday morning. Orem has been charged with possession of heroin.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — John Orem, Republican candidate for Berkeley County Sheriff, was arraigned in Berkeley County Magistrate Court on Tuesday morning, charged with possession of heroin.

According to a criminal complaint, the West Virginia State Police responded to Orem’s address on Harold Drive in Inwood for an EMS call at about 9 a.m. Tuesday. Upon arrival, police say they found Orem laying on the floor in the bathroom, unresponsive. Narcan was administered, according to the police report, to reverse the effects of narcotics on Orem’s body. The report also indicates EMS had responded to Orem’s residence Monday night at about 11 p.m. and averted a potential overdose using Narcan.

Police say drug paraphernalia including a shoelace, a plastic bag and a spoon were found in the bathroom. The spoon reportedly contained a “white … cotton-type substance” and had burn marks on the bottom – indicative of heroin use.

 

Orem reportedly refused to submit to a voluntary blood draw at Berkeley Medical Center. He appeared before Berkeley County Magistrate Harry Snow and was released on $5,000 bond.

Orem is facing Democratic candidate Curtis Keller and Independent candidate Lisa St. Clair in the race to replace outgoing Berkeley County Sheriff Kenneth “Kenny” Lemaster. Orem, of Inwood, defeated eight challengers in the Republican primary in May.

Speaking at a candidate forum hosted by The Journal and WEPM 1340-AM in April, Orem said he believes drug use is a medical problem, not a criminal problem.

“I don’t necessarily agree with incarceration for just the using of a drug,” Orem said. “But I do agree that (users) need to go to jail if they commit (another) offense while using that drug.”

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