A vending machine stocked with free Narcan — a life-saving opioid reversal nasal spray — will now sit inside the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, available for use 24/7.
The installment, tucked next to a Coca-Cola vending machine in the Detention Center’s lobby, comes after a 20% increase in fentanyl overdoses reported by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
Fentanyl — an opioid often laced in other drugs, like pain pills, or distributed on its own — is 100 times more potent than morphine, and even a small amount of it can be deadly.
As it becomes easily available — routinely popping up in the detention center, on streets and even in schools — Sheriff Garry McFadden hopes to make access to Narcan as easy as possible.
“We want to encourage all people, whether they personally use substances or not, to carry the life-saving drug,” wrote MCSO Public Information Officer Bradley Smith.
Naloxone, the fast-acting medicine in Narcan that reverses an opioid overdose, is considered safe to use even if drug use is suspected but later found to not be the case. Earlier this year, federal regulators took action to make 4 mg Narcan nasal spray available over-the-counter without a prescription for about $50.
In collaboration with Carolinas CARE Partnership Rx ACE (CCP), McFadden said offering the drug will be “a pivotal step in our efforts to combat the ongoing fentanyl crisis.”
A trial in federal court last week stemming from the overdose of a 23-year-old Raleigh man exposed the inner workings of a drug-dealing duo and their college-student clients.
The weekend of March 4, 2023, was a big one in the Triangle.
Big for thousands of students and alums because longtime basketball rivals Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were facing off. Big for crowded restaurants and bars that had the Saturday night game in UNC’s Dean Dome on their wide-screen TVs.
And big for Cye Frasier and his girlfriend, Carlisa Allen, who expected to bring in $10,000 in drug sales that weekend from their primary customer base: college students.
That weekend was the first time Josh Zinner, a former UNC-Wilmington student from Raleigh, purchased directly from Frasier and Allen, according to testimony last week in federal court. His roommate, a former UNC-Chapel Hill student and Phi Gamma Delta member, referred him to Frasier.
A federal indictment was unsealed yesterday charging 25 defendants in a narcotics trafficking conspiracy, according to Middle District of North Carolina United States Attorney Sandra J. Hairston.
The indictment, which followed a two-year investigation, charges the individuals involved with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, fentanyl, and cocaine hydrochloride in multiple counties in North Carolina, including Guilford, Randolph, Durham, and Montgomery counties.
If convicted, individual defendants face penalties ranging from up to 20 years, five years to 40 years, or 10 years to life, for narcotics conspiracy, distribution and possession with intent to distribute – depending on the drug amounts involved in the offenses.
A Durham woman charged with selling drugs containing fentanyl that resulted in the death of a 23-year-old Raleigh man was convicted in federal court Friday.
Carlisa Allen, 46, was convicted on multiple cocaine-related drug charges, including conspiring to distribute a substance containing fentanyl resulting in death and possessing a firearm to further a drug trafficking crime, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina said in a news release.
Allen’s drug trafficking conspiracy resulted in the cocaine and fentanyl overdose death of Joshua Skip Zinner on March 10, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
She was convicted after a four-day trial and could face 25 years to life in prison when sentenced on Feb. 13 next year.
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.
The opioid crisis seems to be getting worse every year. NCDHHS reports that in 2021, over 4,000 North Carolinians died from opioid overdoses, up 22% from the prior year. Most deaths were related to the consumption of fentanyl.
One strategy for addressing the epidemic is punishing those who distribute deadly drugs. In 2019, the General Assembly enacted G.S. 14-18.4, making it a felony to sell a controlled substance that causes the death of a user. The law is commonly known as the death by distribution law. This session, the General Assembly passed a revised version of the law. This post explains the revisions.
The original law. The 2019 law made it a Class C felony to (1) sell a qualifying drug, including an opioid, cocaine, or methamphetamine (2) thereby proximately causing (3) the death of a user. Further, (4) the defendant must have acted “without malice,” perhaps because a person acting with malice could potentially be prosecuted for Class B2 second-degree murder by distribution of drugs under G.S. 14-17(b)(2). The 2019 law also created an aggravated Class B2 felony version of death by distribution for defendants with a qualifying drug conviction within the past seven years.
ABC11 has this story about the implementation of the 2019 law. It reports that death by distribution has not been charged at all in most counties, while it has been charged regularly in some others. Shea wrote about the original law here, and Phil wrote about defending death by distribution cases here.
Status of the revised version. Last week, the General Assembly passed S189 to revise the death by distribution law. It passed the Senate 45-0 and the House 81-20. Governor Cooper has not signed it, but it appears that it will become law without his signature shortly. Obviously, the measure passed by veto-proof majorities in both chambers. Unless something unexpected happens, the law will take effect on December 1, 2023, for offenses committed on or after that date. [Update: Governor Cooper signed the measure on September 28, 2023. The effective date remains December 1, 2023.]