Barbara Walsh spoke at the Nantional Fentanyl Awareness Rally in Washington DC on September 23, 2023.
WRAL News coverage of the National Fentanyl Rally held in Washington DC on September 23, 2023.
Hundreds of people from around the country attended the march and rally outside the White House yesterday. It was organized by Lost Voices of Fentanyl.
NORTH CAROLINA (WTVD) — As parents and activists raise their voices for action on Fentanyl Awareness Day, new data from the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office shows the fentanyl problem is only getting worse in North Carolina.
In fact, there were more fentanyl-related deaths reported in just the first five months of this year compared to all of 2016 and 2017 combined. In the last twelve months in North Carolina, there have been 3,433 reported fentanyl-related deaths.
“We’re losing. we’re losing kids. We’re losing grandbabies. We’re losing sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, and it’s unacceptable,” said Barb Walsh, Executive Director of the non-profit Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina.
Walsh lost her daughter, Sophia, to Fentanyl in August of 2021, after she drank a water bottle she didn’t know had fentanyl diluted in it. She said prosecutors’ decision not to press charges was crushing.
“It’s devastating to a family to know who killed your child and not be able to do anything about it,” said Walsh.
RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) — As fentanyl awareness and prevention day approaches, many people gathered for a rally at the state capital Sunday.
The rally was to help raise awareness about the innocent teenage victims who have died by unintentionally encountering fentanyl in fake prescription medications like Adderall, Xanax and Percocet.
According to the group, 13,671 North Carolina residents have been killed by Fentanyl in the past nine years, and eight NC residents die each day by Fentanyl.
Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina is also calling for an increase in salaries and hiring chemists to process toxicology reports and the investigation of drug-related deaths.
Monday will mark National Fentanyl Awareness and Prevention Day.
A group of activists rallied outside the State Capitol Sunday afternoon to push for tougher punishments for people who illegally distribute fentanyl.
If the bills pass, it would broaden who gets criminally prosecuted for distributing fentanyl. As it stands, North Carolina is one of the few states that has a death-by-distribution law.
That law allows district attorneys to prosecute people who sell drugs that lead to an overdose death.
The bills would allow district attorneys to prosecute people for not just selling drugs, but for general distribution, even if there is no money involved.
“They would see the person who killed their son, or daughter, or wife or cousin in the courtroom,” Executive Director of the Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina Barb Walsh said. “And there’s no words for that.”
Walsh and her group have been connecting family members of fentanyl overdose victims with one another to form a support group.
In the list of horrors that a parent might ever experience, losing one’s child because she unknowingly grabbed and drank a bottle of water laced with fentanyl has to be among the worst imaginable. And tragically, that’s what happened to a North Carolina woman named Barb Walsh in 2021 when her daughter Sophia died almost instantly from fentanyl poisoning.
The Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina will rally at the N.C. State Capitol Building later this month, pushing for stronger penalties for illegal distribution of the synthetic opioid and more funding for early intervention, Naloxone and processing toxicology reports. They are also asking state lawmakers for opioid overdoses to be investigated as homicides.
As NC Newsline has reported, North Carolina has been hard hit by fentanyl, an epidemic within the larger opioid epidemic. Some 13,671 North Carolinians have been killed by fentanyl in the last nine years, according to data from the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner — an average of eight people per day.
Even those numbers likely do not take in the full scope of the problem, medical experts say.
In North Carolina, death certificates don’t have a specific code for fentanyl’s involvement in a drug overdose. There is a code – T40.4 — for “other synthetic narcotic overdose.” The Epidemiology, Surveillance and Informatics unit of the N.C. Division of Public Health’s Injury and Violence Prevention Branch notes that most of these cases are “due to illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogues,” but can also include prescription fentanyl and other, less potent synthetic narcotics like Tramadol.
An analysis of statistics from the state medical examiner’s office found overdose deaths with the T40.4 code rose from 442 in 2016 (the first year for which the office had such statistics) to 3,163 in 2021 — an increase of 616%.
As of April, according to OCME data, there were 1,116 fentanyl-positive overdose deaths in the state so far this year.
NC Fentanyl Victim Families invite the public to join as they Rise Up Against Fentanyl at the
Whose Child Dies Next?
Rally @ NC Capitol National Fentanyl Awareness & Prevention Day
- Sunday August 20, 2023, 2-4pm, Rain or Shine
- NC State Capitol Building, South Side, 1 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC
- Parking: free on street and paid parking in municipal lots
- Rules: No signs on sticks/poles, no drones, no firearms/weapons, no climbing trees/walls, statues
- Attendees: open to the public, fentanyl victim families, press, elected officials, law enforcement, educators, advocates, allies
NC Fentanyl Facts
- 13,671 NC residents have been killed by fentanyl in the last 9 years, enough to fill the Raleigh Convention Center (NC OCME)
- 8 NC residents die each day by fentanyl
- NC Infants, Toddlers, Middle & High Schoolers, and Young Adults are killed by fentanyl
- Fentanyl deaths are preventable with early intervention education and naloxone
What NC Fentanyl Victim Families Want
- To Save Lives!
- Pass Senate Bill 189! Pass Senate Bill 250! Both modify GS 14-18.4 Death by Distribution Law
- NC Legislature Must Increase Funding of NC DHHS NC OCME to increase Salaries & Hire Chemists to process Toxicology Reports. Right now there is 5-12 month delay in results reported back to grieving families & law enforcement!
- For all drug related deaths to be investigated as potential homicides & crime scenes
- To be recognized as Crime Victims by the NC Justice System & NC Law Enforcement
|FENTANYL VICTIMS NETWORK of NC|
Barb Walsh, Executive Director
501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit
|FORGOTTEN VICTIMS of NORTH CAROLINA|
Patricia Drewes, Founder
FB page link:
“They need to get deadly fentanyl off of our streets,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “We can do more to hold accountable drug traffickers and keep the people of North Carolina safe. I’ll do everything in my power to rid our state of this scourge.”
For more extensive press release email request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sep. 21—WASHINGTON, D.C. — Patricia Drewes joined anti-fentanyl advocates from across the country Saturday to demand greater effort from the federal government in addressing the ongoing fentanyl crisis.
Drewes co-founded Forgotten Victims of Vance, Granville, Franklin and Warren Counties, which last month held a similar rally in Raleigh.