Father of fentanyl overdose victim brings awareness through digital billboards

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Alex Bradford was about to finish his sophomore year at UNCW when tragedy struck.

At just 19 years old, Alex fell victim to deadly fentanyl poisoning after ingesting fentanyl through drugs he bought from a fellow classmate. He passed away in March of 2022.

“Alex suffered the same pressures as many college students do with mental health, and unknowingly ingested illicit fentanyl because he chose to self-medicate,” Jeremy Bradford, Alex’s father, said.

Now, after months of suffering and grief, Jeremy and Alex’s Mother, Millisa, started 2 Out Rally, a foundation to honor Alex’s legacy and bring awareness to the harmful impacts of fentanyl. The name was inspired by Alex’s love for baseball.

A quote from the 2 Out Rally website says, “2 Out Rally….even in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs, there is still time to RALLY. 1 at bat can change the outcome of the game. 1 moment can change your LIFE. NEVER give up, show love and compassion, it could save a life.”

Now, the Bradfords have partnered with Barb Walsh, founder of the Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina, to include Alex in a series of digital billboards across New Hanover County. Walsh is also personally affected by fentanyl, as her daughter, Sophia, passed away from fentanyl poisoning in 2021.

Together, the team has included Alex’s image and story as part of the 13 victims displayed on the billboards. Walsh says she hopes these billboards will inspire other family members of fentanyl poisoning victims to come forward and seek support. She believes that together, they can rally to end the fentanyl epidemic so that no other family has to suffer.

“Those billboards are a public messaging system. They’re a PSA. I want to replicate what the Bradford’s have done because we’re not going to win this if we only work by ourselves,” Walsh said.

But this battle is far from over.

“You’re literally playing Russian roulette if you’re choosing to utilize drugs that you don’t know could be laced with fentanyl. Alex didn’t know,” Bradford said. “It’s really to bring a face to the epidemic, because it doesn’t matter your economic background, your status, how you were raised, your religious belief, fentanyl does not discriminate.”

The locations of the 6 public safety billboards in New Hanover County are:

  • 1. 143 S College Road + Market Street
  • 2. 5216 Oleander Drive + Hawthorne
  • 3. 1328 US 421 + Spencer Farlow Drive
  • 4. US-17 + 7491 Market Street
  • 5. US-17 + Military Cutoff exit
  • 6. US-17S + NC210

If you or someone you know is personally affected by fentanyl, you can visit the Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina website for more information and support.

To learn more about Alex’s story, you can visit the 2 Out Rally website.

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Read the full article and watch the video on the WECT News 6 web site.

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