Wake County Schools to consider implementing naloxone emergency use plan

The Wake County School Board is set to consider a proposal that would designate specific people on school campuses to be trained in administering naloxone in the event of an overdose emergency. However, it does not guarantee the availability of naloxone in every school.

Barb Walsh has dedicated her days to fighting the opioid epidemic. She has been steadfast in her pursuit for justice and bringing awareness to fentanyl fatalities and their families.

Walsh said her daughter Sophia died after drinking a water bottle with fentanyl in it. Now, she’s working to get naloxone in every school in the state.

“She could’ve been saved by naloxone, but she wasn’t,” Walsh told WRAL News. “She died instantly.”

Naloxone reverses the effects of opiates. On Tuesday, the Wake County School Board will consider implementing a naloxone emergency use plan.

Right now, school resource officers carry naloxone, but not every Wake County school has one.

“If [SROs] did receive that call to respond, and they were on campus, they will be able to arrive within minutes to be able to administer that Narcan, if needed,” said Sgt. Jeremy Pittman, with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.

Read more: Wake County Schools to consider implementing naloxone emergency use plan

In the proposal, it says principals would designate specific people on campus who would get training to administer it in the event of an emergency.

“Naloxone devices will be stored in secure but unlocked and easily accessible locations. Each school principal shall designate one or more school personnel, as part of the medical care program under G.S. 115C-375.1, to receive initial training and annual retraining from a school nurse or qualified representative of the local health department regarding the storage and emergency use of naloxone devices. The training shall include basic instruction and information on how to administer naloxone. Only such trained personnel are authorized to administer naloxone to persons believed to be having an overdose reaction, “ it reads.

Additionally, the principal would collaborate with “appropriate school personnel” to create an emergency action plan, including a school-wide employee training to recognize the symptoms of an opioid overdose.

However, each school would not be required to have it.

“This policy also does not guarantee availability of naloxone devices at school, and students and parents/guardians should consult with their own physician(s) regarding such medication(s). Nothing in this policy should be construed to require the presence or use of naloxone on school property or at school sponsored events, unless otherwise required by law. The Board cannot and does not guarantee that naloxone or a person trained in its use will be available at any particular school site or school-sponsored event,” the proposal reads.

That’s because the drug comes with a price tag, according to a district spokesperson. The spokesperson said the district is still working to identify funding to get the drug in every school. The current budget does not reflect funding for naloxone in each school. However, it could change.

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, “Opioid overdose on school grounds increased this school year, with 21 incidents of naloxone use.”

Of the 115 school districts in the state, 22 have a district-wide program supported with local policy and procedure, according to NCDHHS.

“Naloxone in schools is a safety policy,” Walsh said. “We have AEDs in schools; we have EpiPens in schools; we have fire extinguishers in schools. Naloxone is not different.”

Walsh said people also need to change their attitudes.

“Everybody gets judged. That judgment is the person, the victim, is somehow at fault, that they’re less than,” she said. “It is a medical emergency. That person’s life could be saved.”

Additionally, Walsh said implementing naloxone in each school will bring wider awareness to the issue in general.

“You’re also educating about the symptoms of fentanyl,” she said. “They’ll have more tools in their toolbox.”

The board has been supportive of the proposal in previous meetings. A final vote will be required after Tuesday’s meeting.

Read the article and watch the video on the WRAL TV5 News website.

Breaking the silence: Nonprofits gather to raise awareness about fentanyl poisoning

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Non-profits from across the state gathered at Legion Stadium on Sunday to spread awareness about fentanyl poisoning.  

Attendees also had the chance to receive free Narcan—known generically as naloxone—which is a life-saving drug that can reverse the effects of fentanyl poisoning. 

Leslie and Duane Locklear lost two of their sons, Matt and Ryan Locklear to fentanyl poisoning in 2022. The couple started the Fight 4 Me Foundation in their sons’ memory. They said one of the biggest challenges with fentanyl education is the negative stigma.  

“A great number of people, for whatever reason, don’t want to talk about it. They just want to stigmatize it and push it to the side, and knowledge is power so we just took that calling upon ourselves to get out there and try to make people aware of how bad that problem really is,” Duane said. 

Barb Walsh of Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina lost her 24-year-old daughter Sophia after she drank from a water bottle laced with the synthetic drug. 

“She grabbed a water bottle out of the refrigerator, the water bottle contained eight nanograms of diluted Fentanyl. She died instantly. No Naloxone in the house. She was left for ten hours before 911 was called,” she said. 

Non-profits from across the state gathered at Legion Stadium on Sunday to spread awareness about fentanyl poisoning.  (Photo: Nate Mauldin/WWAY)
Read more: Breaking the silence: Nonprofits gather to raise awareness about fentanyl poisoning

At the event, rapper 22Jax and Ladydice shot a music video for their song “For Y’all,” which aims to break the stigma surrounding fentanyl education. 

“It’s bigger than everything that’s going on. It became very personal for me when I heard about the 19-month-old that did not wake up from her nap or his nap at the Airbnb, that’s insane. I have a 19-month-old at the house, so it really struck home,” 22Jax explained. 

Forgotten Victims of North Carolina Founder Patricia Drewes lost her daughter Heaven to fentanyl poisoning in 2018, leaving behind her son, Cameron. Drewes’ hope is that more parents like her will educate their children.  

“For God’s sake, educate your children. I had no idea. I wish I had known then what I know now. We have to educate our parents, we have to educate our children.”   

According to the North Carolina Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, since 2016, more than 15,000 North Carolinians have died from fentanyl poisoning.  

If you would like to know how obtain Narcan in case of a life-threatening emergency, New Hanover County Health and Human Services has a list of where to get Narcan locally for free, with insurance. 

Read the original article on the WWAY TV3 News website.

Local rapper hosts fundraiser and music video shoot for fentanyl awareness

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Rapper 22Jax wants to give a voice to families who have lost loved ones because of fentanyl and spread awareness about the drug.

On Sunday in Legion Stadium, rapper Alexander Whittington, also known as “22Jax,” held a music video shoot and fundraising event for fentanyl awareness.

“The main purpose of this event is to inspire more people to speak up that felt as though they lost their voice or felt that the memory of their loved ones are lost,” said 22Jax.

Families remember their loved ones at fentanyl fundraiser and music video shoot(WECT)
Read more: Local rapper hosts fundraiser and music video shoot for fentanyl awareness

The music video shoot is for 22Jax’s new song “For Y’all” featuring musician LadyDice. The song was released earlier this month, and 40% of the song’s proceeds will go to organizations helping raise fentanyl awareness.

22Jax says it is more than just addiction and overdoses. “The insane thing is, all these things are happening and no one is doing anything, so I decided to use my platform to reach the youth and grab all of these organizations,” said 22Jax.

“It wasn’t until I really got involved with the song that I was really educated. The numbers and the statistics, it’s out of this world. I just feel like people need to know more and I am just trying to forward the education that I have received and try to save some lives,” said LadyDice.

Michiko’s Voice is a non-profit based out of Johnson County and is one of the organizations that will receive proceeds from For Y’all. Kamaya Duff lost her 23-year-old sister Michiko, who died from fentanyl poisoning.

Duff says her sister unknowingly took 29mg of fentanyl.

“When my sister passed we were lost, it took us 15-18 months to get her toxicology back,” said Duff.

Many families in attendance at the music video and fundraiser event say they waited months before finding out the cause of death of their loved ones. They say it’s a healing experience to be around other people who have experienced similar pain.

“There is no stigma, it can happen to anyone, first-time users, non-users, addicts. It can happen to anyone,” said Duff. “It can be any adult or child it happens to the innocent and the non-innocent,” she added.

The event also had free Naloxone and training to help prevent fentanyl poisoning and save lives. 22Jax says he appreciates the community support and hopes to keep spreading fentanyl awareness across the state and country.

“It’s overwhelming, I didn’t think the turnout would be so well,” said 22Jax.

Read the article on the WECT News 6 website.

Man pleads guilty to supplying drugs that led to fentanyl poisoning

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — A person accused of supplying the drugs that led to a man’s death pleaded guilty in court on Friday.

The hearing was a long time coming for the family of Marshall Abbott, who died due to fentanyl poisoning in June 2022. He died one day before his 30th birthday.

Aaron Furr was arrested in connection with Abbott’s death and charged with death by distribution. Police say he supplied the fentanyl that killed Abbott.

In court Friday, Furr pleaded guilty to the charge. He was sentenced to about five and a half to seven and a half years in prison.

His family sighed with relief when Furr was sentenced.

“I’m a mom. I fought for Marshall his whole life and I’ll always fight for him,” Beth Abernathy said.

Abernathy has fond memories of her son.

“He was an amazing father and amazing son, an amazing friend. And this world is a darker place without him,” she said.

Her husband, Matt Abernathy, said losing Marshall changed everything for him.

“It’s a before and an after — Before Marshall and after Marshall — and life is just different,” he said.

The district attorney’s office sent a statement to Channel 9, saying, “it was an honor to advocate for justice for Marshall Abbott and his family.” But Beth Abernathy said justice won’t stop here.

“Marshall’s case will set a precedent for every family that has to go through this,” she said. “We’ve created a roadmap here in Cabarrus County, and we have proven that you can successfully investigate and prosecute these cases. And we will stand by every fentanyl family in our county and across the state to make sure that every fentanyl dealer is punished to the full extent of the law.”

After the plea hearing, Marshall Abbott’s family and other advocates who came to support them met with the district attorney and assistant district attorney. Goetz was in that meeting while the DA thanked the family for fighting so hard and talked about work they will do in the future to fight for other families.

Read the article and watch the video on the WSOC TV9 website.

Local rapper raising awareness about fentanyl overdose deaths

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Promoter Scott Maitland and rapper “22JAX” are taking action through music and community organizations to raise awareness about fentanyl overdose deaths.

This Sunday, May 19, they are organizing a music video shoot and fundraiser at Legion Stadium from noon to 4 p.m. There will be games and activities for families, food trucks and Foz of Z107.5 FM broadcasting live on-site.

40 percent of the revenue made by the song will be donated to fentanyl awareness nonprofits like Fight4Me and FentVic.

Maitland and 22 Jax visited the WECT studio for an interview on Thursday, and you can watch that full interview at the top of this story.

Read the article and watch the video on the WECT6 website.

High Point man sentenced to 8-11 years for death by distribution in Thomasville

THOMASVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — A High Point man was sentenced to 8-11 years in prison after pleading guilty to death by distribution, according to the Thomasville Police Department.

On May 28, 2021, officers came to the 300 block of James Avenue and found 35-year-old Jacob Fields dead at the scene.

An autopsy report later revealed that Fields died from a fentanyl overdose.

Investigators identified Larento Valentino Grady Jr., 30, of High Point as the person who supplied the fentanyl to Fields.

On June 13, 2022, the High Point Police Department and Thomasville officers located and arrested Grady at his High Point home without incident.

Grady was indicted by a Davidson County Grand Jury on charges of second-degree murder and death by distribution in July 2022.

On Wednesday, Grady pleaded guilty to the death by distribution charge and was sentenced to serve a minimum of 100 months and a maximum of 132 months in prison.

“The sentence of Larento Grady Jr., to over eight years in prison is a testament to the hard work Thomasville detectives and the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office put into this investigation to ensure our goal was accomplished,” said Detective Lt. Jeff McCrary. “Thomasville detectives continue to work tirelessly alongside the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement partners to ensure the people dealing drugs in our community are held fully accountable for the death and destruction they selfishly cause.”

Read the original article and watch the video on the MyFox8.com website.

North Carolina man pleads guilty to death by distribution in fentanyl overdose case

HIGH POINT, N.C. —

A man charged in connection with an overdose death in 2021, has pleaded guilty to death by distribution.

Thomasville police said on May 28, 2021, they responded to James Avenue and discovered the body of 35-year-old Jacob Fields. An autopsy report revealed Fields died from a fentanyl overdose.

Grady was sentenced to serve a minimum of 100 months and a maximum of 132 months in prison or more than eight years.

Read the original article and watch the video on the WXII 12 News website.

Families push NC leaders for naloxone in all schools

Families of people who have died due to fentanyl use urged North Carolina lawmakers on Wednesday to do more to prevent other people from feeling their pain.

Fentanyl deaths are on the rise in North Carolina, state data shows:

  • 2,838 people died from fentanyl from January 2023 – October 2023
  • 2,797 people died from fentanyl from January 2022 – October 2023

October 2023 represented the most recent data the North Carolina Department of Health and Human and Human Services could provide.

Theresa Mathewson, whose son Joshua died in August 2022 at the age of 27 from fentanyl poisoning, was among the families visiting North Carolina lawmakers on Wednesday.

The group is advocating for North Carolina lawmakers to mandate having a box of naloxone, a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose, in every school in the state. Some people who attended Wednesday’s event said they were confident state leaders will utilize $350,000 of the $350 million in opioid settlement funds that North Carolina received to make it a reality.

Theresa Mathewson said she found her son unresponsive in his bedroom.

“He was getting ready to complete some tasks for a new job,” she said of her late son.

Theresa Mathewson said he son took half of a pill with roughly 14 times the lethal dose of fentanyl in it.

“[It was] enough to kill him and all his closest friends.

“It should be an eye-opener,” said Chelsea Mathewson, who is the sister of Joshua Mathewson.

The Mathewsons have started several grassroots organizations in Harnett County to spread awareness of the dangers of opioid use.

In 2022, more than 4,300 people in North Carolina died from all opioid exposure.

“Part of likes these [events] because I don’t feel alone, but I hate them,” Chelsea Mathewson said. “I absolutely hate them.

“I hate that there’s another mother and father going through it.”

Danielle Erving, whose son died from fentanyl poisoning, also attended Wednesday’s event.

“Nobody deserves this heartbreak because it can happen to anybody,” Erving said.

Jazmine Brown, whose brother died from fentanyl poisoning, echoed Erving’s sentiments.

“Nobody is safe from this, as sad as it is,” Brown said. “That’s the most important thing for people to acknowledge.”

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NC activists, families call on lawmakers to get Narcan in more schools to combat fentanyl crisis

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Families of those impacted by fentanyl in North Carolina joined together at the General Assembly Wednesday to spread awareness on the dangers of the drug.

Duane and Leslie Locklear were just two of the many parents in attendance. They lost both of their sons, Matthew and Ryan, to fentanyl.

“We lost Matthew in February of 2022 right here in Raleigh and nine months later we lost Ryan in Pembroke. Both, again, due to fentanyl poisoning,” said Duane.

Now they’re on a mission to make sure no other parent has to go what they’ve gone through.

Fayetteville mom, Nanielle Ervin, lost her son to the drug as well.

“I didn’t know what fentanyl was,” said Ervin. “Just to find out that your loved one is gone it’s devastating.”

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says in 2021 more than 77% of overdose deaths in the state likely involved fentanyl.

The group said to combat the crisis they want to see more Naloxone, a drug commonly known as Narcan, in schools.

Watch the video and read the article on the CBS17 website.