NC advocates to join national rally on fentanyl crisis in U.S. 

Advocates who are fighting to keep fentanyl off the streets say more needs to be done. ABC11 (Raleigh) interviewed Patricia Drewes and Beth Moore for this story.

‘One final deadly dose:’ Fentanyl trafficker sentenced to 15 years after woman overdoses and dies

A Raleigh man is being sent to prison after officials from the U.S. Department of Justice say he assisted in distributing fentanyl to a 22-year-old woman who overdosed and died.

A Raleigh man is being sent to prison after officials from the U.S. Department of Justice say he assisted in distributing fentanyl to a 22-year-old woman who overdosed and died.

Treveris Montel Coward, also known as ‘Bad News,’ was sentenced to 15 years in prison after he pled guilty on October 4, 2022.

“Drug dealers are increasingly selling drugs laced with deadly fentanyl to make them stronger, more addictive, and more profitable. Now thousands of North Carolinians, including kids, are dying from overdoses,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley.

According to court documents, the victim had previously suffered an overdose, and Coward rendered aid to help her survive. However, despite her recent overdose, he provided her with more fentanyl the following day — causing her to overdose and die.

Easley called Coward “the worst kind of coward” for “rendering aid to an overdose victim only to sell her one final deadly dose.”

He says he hopes narcotics dealers will pay attention to the 15-year sentence.

“If your drugs kill, you will pay a heavy price,” he said.

The sentencing of Coward is an example of the collaborative effort of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Raleigh Police Department in holding those who distribute deadly substances into our community responsible.

“We are grateful for our partnership. Coward distributed fentanyl to a vulnerable 22-year-old individual who was susceptible to an overdose, which led to her tragic death,” said Raleigh Chief of Police Estella Patterson. “[We] will not yield in the fight against fentanyl.”

Randolph County man arrested in connection to deadly 2023 overdose in Denton, deputies say

A man has been charged in connection to a deadly overdose that occurred in 2023, according to deputies with the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office.

On Jan. 31, 2023, Randolph County deputies responded to the area of Lark Drive in Denton, in reference to a possible overdose.

RCSO detectives began investigating, and Dustin Moffitt was identified as a person of interest as a result of the investigation.

In May, following the investigation, a RCSO detective went to a Grand Jury, who found probable cause for a True Bill of Indictment for death by distribution for Moffitt.

On May 29, Moffitt, 39, was apprehended for the outstanding true bill of indictment. He was additionally charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

He was given a secured bond of $202,000.

Read the original story and watch the video on the WXII News 12 website.

ABC11 coverage of Fentvic Meetup #12

Coverage from the 6PM edition:

Coverage from the 11PM edition:

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) — It’s a problem that’s become all too common.

In Durham County alone, the sheriff said last year they seized 3.7 grams of fentanyl from the streets. This year, so far over 300 grams have been removed.

On Saturday the group Fentanyl Victims of North Carolina held its 12th meet-up in Durham.

Natalie Beauchaine proudly shared a photo of her son Jake.

“He was smart he was giving he was loyal if he was your friend he was your loyal friend,” Natalie said.

But behind his smile was also a battle with addiction that ultimately turned tragic.

“It was not an overdose, it was something that he thought was heroin,” Natalie said.

ALSO SEE: ‘World No Tobacco Day’ highlights effort to curb the use of vaping in youth

The heroin was laced with a fatal amount of fentanyl. In the midst of her grief, Natalie found community among other members of a club no one wants to be a part of – families of fentanyl victims.

“It doesn’t know race, it doesn’t know color, it doesn’t know socioeconomic background, it affects everybody,” she said.

Around a table, other families shared similar stories, including how many were caught off guard by what has become a silent killer.

“Marijuana can be laced with fentanyl and sometimes fentanyl can even be in water or soda as far as a child is concerned, and you don’t know that it’s there which is really really dangerous,” said Dr. Wanda Boone.

Dangerous also because of how cheap and prevalent it is.

“It is an economic boon to the drug trade,” said Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead.

Birkhead said his office is working to get fentanyl off the streets.

“Once they get it, they can take those 3.7 grams or those 300 grams and just multiply it exponentially,” he said.

One solution they’re fighting for is making sure naloxone is available in every school in the state. They’re also hoping these stories and legacies save lives.

“I just don’t want to see any other families go through this. It’s a horrible grief and it’s just something that nobody else has to go through,” Natalie said.

Wake County approved naloxone in all schools but not every county has them. State Senator Mike Woodard said it would only cost around $350,000 to supply naloxone statewide and he’s hoping to get it into the state budget.

Read the story and watch the video on the ABC11 News website.

UNC lab analyzing, identifying substances in street drugs

Since 2021, the lab has tested about 5,600 samples, identifying more than 270 different substances.

Scientists inside a room at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Caudill Labs are doing work that’s not happening anywhere else in the country. They’re receiving thousands of street drug samples, running them through a machine to get a real-time look at what’s in them.

“Normally, we don’t find out what is in street drugs until it is too late — when people are either dead or arrested,” said Dr. Nabarun Dasgupta, the senior scientist at UNC’s Street Drug Analysis Lab. “There’s no opportunity for prevention; no opportunity for recovery.”

The scientists don’t need much to test — just a sample less than a grain of rice. About 200 public health organizations, including 34 in North Carolina, send in kits with samples.

Continue reading “UNC lab analyzing, identifying substances in street drugs”

Raleigh teen carrying Narcan saves life by the side of the road

A Leesville Road High School student was heading to downtown Raleigh to run errands when she saw something on the side of the road. Victoria Taton ended up saving a man from a dire situation.

A senior at a Raleigh high school now has a rare, first-hand account of the power of the life-saving drug naloxone.

A Leesville Road High School student was heading to downtown Raleigh to run errands when she saw something on the side of the road.

Victoria Taton ended up saving a man from a dire situation.

Taton was driving near Crabtree Valley Mall, running errands in the busy afternoon rush hour, when she saw two young men in the distance. One of them was lying on the ground. She trusted her gut – waited for a red light, and went over to them.

“I asked them, what’s going on?” she said. “I kept my distance. He’s telling me that his friend is on the ground not responding. And he’s not sure what’s happening. But he thinks it might be an overdose from the symptoms that he was seeing.”

Taton raced to get the Narcan in her car — raced back, and administered it in the stranger. It worked.

“It takes anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes to work,” Taton said. “In about 30 seconds to 60 still with the EMS on the phone, he comes out of the state of response that he was in. He throws up. He’s coming in and out of consciousness. The EMS are telling us that.”

Officials are still combating the stigmas around naloxone, known by its brand name Narcan. But more and more people are carrying naloxone kits to keep them and their peers safe. Taton said she’s been carrying it with her for two years.

“I just felt that it’s a really good thing to carry,” Taton said. “You really just don’t know anymore. Especially with kids our age, going off to college soon, you just don’t know. I just thought it was safe to carry it from then on.”

Her instincts proved right. Taton hopes her experience will motivate others to consider carrying Narcan.

“They said he most likely would be OK because we did the right thing,” Taton said. “If we weren’t there, he probably would’ve died. We weren’t sure what he took, but because we acted quickly, yeah.”

Emily Robinson, the Alamance Co. Sheriff’s daughter has been found guilty of death by distribution

Emily Robinson was convicted of supplying the drugs that killed a man by overdose back in 2021.

ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — A jury heard closing arguments Tuesday in the death by distribution case involving the Alamance County Sheriff’s daughter. 

Emily Robinson faces several drug-related charges. The biggest among them —death by distribution. 

  1. Possession with intent to sell or deliver a controlled substance
  2. Maintaining a building for sale of controlled substances
  3. Possession of drug paraphernalia
  4. Sale or delivery of controlled substance
  5. Death by distribution

The jury found Robinson guilty of death by distribution. Court documents show she will serve and active sentence between 60 to 84 months.

Robinson is accused of supplying the fentanyl that killed Robert James Starner Jr. on September 15, 2021. The state medical examiner’s office determined Starner died from one or a combination of fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine. 

The prosecution said witness interviews, phone messages, and GPS all indicated that Starner met up with Robinson to buy fentanyl right before he died. 

The defense argued that it could have been other drugs that contributed to Starner’s death rather than the fentanyl that was allegedly supplied by Robinson. 

Read the article and watch the video on the WFMY News2 website.

WS/FCS board of education vote unanimously to bring Narcan to classrooms

School leaders say they’re hoping to have this in place for the 2024-25 academic year. It’s a decision that comes after the community expressed the need for more school resources following a rise in opioid deaths in Forsyth County.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. —

Winston-Salem/Forsyth County school board members voted unanimously to bring Narcan to the classrooms. School leaders say they’re hoping to have this in place for the 2024-25 academic year. It’s a decision that comes after the community expressed the need for more school resources following a rise in opioid deaths in Forsyth County.

Annie Vasquez, a substance use health educator came to Tuesday’s night’s board meeting in hopes the Narcan proposal would pass.

“When I was 17, I started using heroin. I’m very lucky that I did not overdose at the school system. We did not have Narcan when I was in active addiction, so it’s a very different, just, area,” Vasquez said.

As a mother and 20 years clean herself, Vasquez says this decision is a breath of fresh air.

According to data from Forsyth County Behavioral Health Services, as of Monday, there have been 17 overdose deaths so far this year. EMS has responded to more than 700 overdose-related calls.

A total of 1,583 cases were reported last year. That would mean that through Memorial Day, overdose calls in the county could increase by 11% from 2023 to 2024.

Andrea Scales is also sitting in for that vote on Tuesday. Her son, Jeremiah, died in June 2022 after unknowingly consuming fentanyl. She says this vote is a win for both of them.

“Sitting in that room today, I carried him in here with me,” Scales said. “And we were both rooting for this policy to pass, and knowing that it has for the upcoming school year is amazing, it’s remarkable, and it needed to take place. And I’m so glad this is going to save lives.”

According to the draft policy, the Forsyth County Health Department will supply Narcan to schools for free. It will also offer annual training to teachers and staff on how to administer it and where it is to be stored.

According to the policy, Narcan isn’t required to be available for activities off school grounds, like field trips or athletic events.

Read the article and watch the video on the WXII News 12 website.

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