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EDNEYVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A new crime lab in North Carolina aims to increase efficiency within the state’s criminal justice system, particularly with drug and DNA evidence.

State Attorney General Josh Stein attended last week the inauguration of the State Crime Lab office for western North Carolina in Edneyville this weekend. The new regional crime lab, unlike one in Asheville since the 1980’s, relieves the burden of DNA evidence testing from the main lab in Raleigh, which was previously the only facility with that capacity.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports around 20 new employees will help the lab focus on drug evidence. Western North Carolina is the hardest hit by the state’s opioid epidemic. It will also help with DNA evidence, which could reduce the backlog of untested evidence form rape kits.

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Information from: The News & Observer, http://www.newsobserver.com