Look out for these new billboards raising awareness about North Carolina fentanyl deaths

Jeremiah Scales and 18 other faces are in rotation on two Winston-Salem billboards along Business 40.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Illicit fentanyl is a deadly drug. 

According to the state Department of Health and Human Services, there was a 22% increase in Fentanyl deaths in North Carolina in 2021.

Families of 19 of those lives taken too soon were brave enough to put their loved one’s faces on display here in the Triad.  

A roadside tribute to Jeremiah Scales warmed the hearts of his grandmother and mother Andrea Scales.  

“To see his face on the screen with other angels who have lost their lives to such a deadly poison,” Scales said. “His beautiful face is still alive in his home city it means so much.”

Jeremiah and 18 other faces are in rotation on two Winston-Salem billboards along Business 40.

Read the full story on the WFMY website.


May 29-June 26, 2023, 24/7, digital and illuminated.

Winston-Salem, Forsyth County NC, 2 locations

Purpose is to raise awareness of the 13,376 NC victims of illicit fentanyl poisonings and to generate public safety conversations within communities and families about the dangers of illicit fentanyl, particularly counterfeit pills.  Illicit fentanyl killed over 523 Forsyth County residents in the past 9 years, 2013-August 2022.  (source:  North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics Death Certificate Data)

These are the first billboards of the FENTVIC.ORG Campaign.  They feature 19 NC illicit fentanyl poisoning victims with permission of their families.  The campaign will run in other cities throughout NC exclusively featuring NC illicit fentanyl poisoning victims.  Future campaign locations and dates TBD.


Administered by Fentanyl Victims Network of NC (fentvic), www.fentvic.org,

Barb Walsh, Executive Director, 919-614-3830, barb@fentvic.org.  Fentvic is a charitable nonprofit located in Cary NC.  EIN #88-3921380.  Fentvic fights illicit fentanyl in NC. Fentvic advocates for public safety for all and justice for NC families permanently damaged by illicit fentanyl poisonings.

In partnership with Forgotten Victims of NC, Patricia Drewes, Founder, 252-204-9611, patriciadrewes@yahoo.com, link to FB page:  http://forgottenvictimsofnc.org/

Campaign Locations & Artwork developed Adams Outdoor Advertising, Julie Belnap, Account Executive,336-926-3850 (cell), jbelnap@adamsoutdoor.com

FENTVIC.ORG  NC BILLBOARD CAMPAIGN: 2 locations in Winston Salem, Forsyth County

  1. Digital Group One features NC fentanyl victims Alexandra, Christian, Gabriella, Heaven, Hunter, Jared, Jeremiah, Robert, Sophia, and Zack:  Billboard location:  sign 305-4.  B40 .12 miles East of Stratford Road N, Exit 3C N/side of highway Facing west.  You can park off Miller Street (near Publix) behind the Mayberry’s Restaurant to view this digital (parking lot area there for viewing) Google Maps.
  2. Digital Group Two features NC fentanyl victims Abigail, Ashley, Carissa, Chase, Marshall, Martin, Michiko, Mikey, Sophia, and Vincent.  Billboard Location:  sign 602-4. B40 .37 miles West of Old Greensboro Rd/ Linville Road (Exit 10)NS Facing west.  Take Exit 10 to Linville Road, and head towards Smokin’ Harley Davidson dealer.  Go past the dealer toward Pepsi plant (turn around and you can park on side of service road for viewing) Google Maps.

NC law that punishes drug dealers not widely used despite increase in overdose deaths

For three years, Logan Overcash and his family waited for answers and waited for justice.

“We’ve got closure, but it’s not the closure that we want,” Overcash said.

Overcash’s brother-in-law Cory Moore went missing in September 2020; five months later police found his body in a wooded area in Sanford.

Overcash remembers Moore as a great guy who was full of funny stories.

“You could pretty much put him in any social environment and he would adapt. You know what I mean? Like, he could he can talk to anyone,” Overcash remembered.

While Overcash said Moore battled some demons throughout his life, he was on the right path before his death.

“It was just kind of one of the things that, you know, we tried to protect him from it as much as we could, and I guess it just found its way back to him,” Overcash said.

An investigation later uncovered that Moore died from an overdose. The Lee County Sheriff’s Office went on to arrest the individual who they believed sold him the drugs with a charge called ‘ death by distribution.

Read the full article on the ABC11 website.

County hosts coaches to discuss drugs

The Surry County Office of Substance Abuse Recovery hosted its first ever Sports and Drugs Awareness seminar last week in Dobson. Inside were dozens of coaches, educators, and members of the community to discuss substance use disorder and what role coaches can play in stemming the tide of drugs in Surry County.

Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Chuvalo J. Truesdell was the keynote speaker for the event that also featured track coach and Olympian Kathy Freeman who offered her perspective.

Read the full article on the Mount Airy News website.

Ashley Whaby Unknowingly Took Fentanyl and Died, So Why Has No One Been Held Accountable, Grandma Asks

Ashley Whaby was found dead the day after a party where she may have unknowingly ingested fentanyl. No one has been charged in her death, and her grandmother, Debbie Peeden, wants answers.

Ashley Whaby was at a party with a few friends one fall night in 2021 when she ingested a drug she believed she had used many times before. But unbeknownst to her, it was laced with a lethal dose of fentanyl, her loved ones say.

Ashley’s death left Debbie Peeden, her grandmother and the woman who raised her, with a life-altering wound and an unbreakable resolve for answers. But thus far, she’s gotten few that have satisfied her, she tells Inside Edition Digital in an in-depth interview. 

Read the full article on the Inside Edition website.

Fentanyl-related deaths among children increased more than 30-fold between 2013 and 2021

CNN — 

Fatal overdoses involving fentanyl have surged in recent years in the US and new research shows that deaths among children have increased significantly, mirroring trends among adults.

More than 5,000 children and teens have died from overdoses involving fentanyl in the past two decades, according to data published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. More than half of those deaths occurred in the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic.

There were about 1,550 pediatric deaths from fentanyl in 2021 – over 30 times more than in 2013, when the wave of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids started in the US.

Watch the segment and read the full article on the CNN web site.

Mother who lost son to fentanyl-related death organizes walk to raise awareness

MOREHEAD CITY — A Morehead City mother who lost her son in December to a fentanyl-related death is turning her grief into action.

Mary Warstler of Morehead City is organizing The Walk for Fentanyl Awareness to fight back against the epidemic that is plaguing the county, state and nation.

“I’m hoping to raise awareness and want to see more education in our schools about this at a younger age,” Warstler said. “I talk to a lot of young people that don’t know what it is, and some have said if they get drugs from their friends, it is safe. But their friends are getting drugs from dealers, and they are not safe. I applaud what’s being done so far by our officials, but more needs to be done.”

She added that she is reaching out to other mothers who have lost children to drug overdoses.

“If I can save one mom from the hell I’m going through and what other moms are going through — if I can save somebody — this will be worth it,” she said.

Read the full article on the CarolinaCoastOnline web site.

NC man pleads guilty to giving fentanyl to his 16-year-old girlfriend, killing her

A Rutherford County man pleaded guilty Monday to giving his 16-year-old girlfriend a pain pill laced with fentanyl, leading to her September 2022 death.

In return for his plea, Nicholas Gage Ivey, 19, of Spindale, will serve up to three years in prison. He also has agreed to testify against his co-defendant, Deontae Jaquise Miller, 24, of Rutherfordton.

Both were arrested in connection with the death of Abigail Saunderson, 16, of Gaston County.

At his arraignment Monday, Ivey pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to sell/deliver a Schedule II controlled substance, and felony conspiracy, District Attorney Travis Page told The Charlotte Observer. He received consecutive sentences of 10-21 months and 6-17 months.

Read the full article on the Charlotte Observer website.

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