With the White House charting action in schools nationwide to curb teen drug use and deaths, Charlotte-Mecklenburg leaders plan to stock opioid overdose-reversal medicine in hallways.
While there have been no documented fatal overdoses in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, some data suggests drug use among students is on the rise. Fentanyl — a synthetic opioid — is pervasive in street-bought drugs, experts say.
Naloxone, an overdose-reversal medicine (commonly called Narcan), will be available in every school, pending CMS board approval, Raynard Washington, Mecklenburg health director, told The Charlotte Observer this week.
The last bathroom stall on the left. An afternoon math class. The house across the street. This weekend’s party.
Fentanyl is easy for teens to get — and, these days, it’s even harder to escape.
After losing his best friend to the very drugs the two of them would use together, one Charlotte teen shared his winding journey from an innocent swig of liquor to a dependency on $7 pills, posing as Percocets, that circulated through his school.
“I didn’t know who I was,” said 17-year-old Dylan Krebs, remembering the height of his addiction. “I had completely forgotten everything about me.”
Not only could he not help himself then, he says, but his parents and teachers seemed to have no idea. He says students sold illegal painkillers in classrooms and recalls only once a teacher at school warning teens of the dangers of drugs.
“Everything is laced,” officials have long warned, and one fentanyl pill — about 2 milligrams — with the potent opioid is enough to kill a person.
The campaign’s name uses slang in an effort to target young people and their families, according to CMPD. The main goal of this campaign is to prevent overdose deaths through education with younger people who are unaware of the risks of fentanyl. CMPD says it has seen a 20% increase in confirmed fentanyl overdoses this year compared to 2022. The majority of those deaths (60%) are people who were younger than 40.
After more than 4,000 people in North Carolina died last year from fentanyl, a Chapel Hill company has a plan to cut down on deadly overdoses.
A Chapel Hill company is developing an injectable drug to cut down on deadly overdoses after more than 4,000 people in North Carolina died last year from fentanyl.
Fentanyl is the number one killer of Americans ages 18 to 45, with opioids producing the worst drug crisis in the history of the United States.
Chapel Hill-based Cessation Therapeutics says its monoclonal antibody therapy, called CSX-1004, can block the dangerous effects of fentanyl.
“Fentanyl can get to the brain really quickly,” said Andy Barrett, chief scientific officer for Cessation Therapeutics. “And the brain is where it produces its pleasurable effects and its dangerous respiratory depression.”
Without any intervention, fentanyl can enter the bloodstream and travel easily to the brain – but the monoclonal antibody can bind to fentanyl in the blood and prevent it from crossing that blood brain barrier.
“It would block all of the effects of fentanyl for at least a month,” Barrett said.
Border Patrol agents seized enough fentanyl in 2023 alone to kill every American citizen as the country grapples with the consequences of President Joe Biden’s open border policies.
Now, the White House is urging schools to stock up on Narcan amid a surging number of fentanyl deaths among American children.
In a letter addressed to U.S. school officials, President Biden and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona urged administrators to begin keeping naloxone on hand and to train teachers on how to administer the drug if a student starts overdosing on or is poisoned by fentanyl.
In the midst of this fentanyl overdose epidemic, it is important to focus on measures to prevent youth drug use and ensure that every school has naloxone and has prepared its students and faculty to use it. Studies show that naloxone access can reduce overdose death rates, that its availability does not lead to increases in youth drug use, and that it causes no harm if used on a person who is not overdosing on opioids. It is important to note that individuals should not be afraid to administer naloxone, as most states have Good Samaritan Laws protecting bystanders who aid at the scene of an overdose. Our schools are on the frontlines of this epidemic, but our teachers and students can be equipped with tools to save lives.
NEW BERN, N.C. – A Fayetteville man was sentenced today to 420 months in prison for his role as the leader of a violent fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin trafficking organization. On January 11, 2023, Naji Michael Johnson, age 45, pled guilty to fentanyl conspiracy and fentanyl distribution charges.
“Naji Johnson used guns, violence, and intimidation to advance his drug trafficking enterprise in Fayetteville for 15 years, pushing kilogram quantities of cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl into our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “Today, the community saw justice done. Drug traffickers should see this 35 year sentence as a warning. Partnerships between local and federal law enforcement are stronger than ever, and we are determined to keep North Carolina safe. Our friends, neighbors, and families deserve no less.”
“The sentencing of Naji Johnson supports the Fayetteville Police Department’s commitment and goal of keeping the City of Fayetteville safe and secure,” said Fayetteville Police Chief Kem Braden. “Naji Johnson was a career criminal responsible for numerous violent crimes in our community. The Fayetteville Police Department appreciates the hard work of the Federal, State, and local agencies responsible for removing a violent, career criminal from our community. The sentencing of Naji Johnson sends a clear message to other would-be criminals that violence within our City will not be tolerated.”
“There is often a direct link between those trafficking drugs into our communities and those committing violent crimes,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Bennie Mims. “Disrupting these dangerous drug trafficking networks has an immediate and significant role in decreasing violent gun crime.”
BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – Beaufort County will receive a little over $3 million over the next 18 years in the opioid settlement, and Tuesday community members were able to discuss how they want to distribute it.
“When I first found out that my son had passed away from fentanyl, it was the Monday after we had his funeral on Saturday, so before then, I didn’t even know what illicit fentanyl was,” said Beaufort County resident Allena Hale.
The mother of Mikey Boyd, who passed away because of a fentanyl overdose back in March of 2022, was one of the community members to voice her opinion at Tuesday’s Behavioral Health Task Force Collaborative meeting.
“I don’t think there’s one simple solution it’s going to be efforts of parents; it’s going to be efforts of law enforcement, department agencies, EMS – it’s going to be all hands on deck to kind of combat this epidemic,” said Hale.