Fentanyl victims advocacy group holds educational, networking event in Lexington


A group of people who lost family members to fentanyl held an educational advocacy and networking event in Lexington.

On Saturday, the group “Fentvic” came together to start safety conversations within the community about the dangers of illicit fentanyl.

The group said they want to focus on counterfeit pressed pills, like Adderall, Xanax, and Percocet, as well as the access of life-saving naloxone in schools and the community.

Participants at the event had the option to bring posters of their family members to honor their loved ones they have lost to fentanyl abuse.

CDC data has ranked North Carolina 4th in the nation in fentanyl-related deaths last year. North Carolina data also shows a combined 2,615 fentanyl deaths between 2013 and Sept. 2023.

For more information on Fentvic and to see any of their upcoming events throughout North Carolina, visit their website here.

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

Davidson County families work to fight fentanyl together

DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Eight people in North Carolina die every day, because of fentanyl, according to the North Carolina Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

On Saturday, people who have lost someone to the deadly drug met other families, public officials, health advocates and law enforcement in Davidson County to work together to fight the fentanyl crisis.

“We want to educate people on this,” said Mike Loomis, a founder of Race Against Drugs.

Mike and his wife, Lorie started Race Against Drugs to be a support for families, after they lost their son, James. “You can’t get over something like that, it complete changes your life and we don’t want another parent to lose their child to drugs laced with fentanyl,” Lorie said.

Continue reading “Davidson County families work to fight fentanyl together”

‘We’re tired of telling parents that their children are dead due to fentanyl use’ | UCSO works to fight fentanyl crisis

Union County is working to get fentanyl test results back sooner.

MONROE, N.C. — WCNC Charlotte is putting a face to the fentanyl crisis. 

Recent trends show it’s killing people who don’t even know they’re taking it. 

A deadly dose is as small as the size of Abraham Lincoln’s cheek on a penny. 

Now, the Union County Sheriff’s Office is working to crack down on the drug, which is greatly impacting families.

“He just really had a special heart,” Union County resident Linda Hibbets said.

Hibbets, raised her grandson, 18-year-old Brian Terrano. He grew up loving adventures, sports, and anything to do with Gatlinburg. After a trip there, the next morning he was supposed to go to school. 

“I told my husband to help me get him off the bed, and I did CPR, I’m an RN, and I couldn’t save my grandson and that was really hard,” Hibbets said. “I’ve saved others, but I couldn’t save him, he was gone.”   

It’s a story UCSO Lieutenant James Maye has heard too often. 

Continue reading “‘We’re tired of telling parents that their children are dead due to fentanyl use’ | UCSO works to fight fentanyl crisis”

Resource officers are now the only ones to carry Narcan in Wake schools. Can this change?

Three years ago, Sophia Walsh was returning home after a fun weekend with friends river rafting in Boone.

On the drive back, she stopped at an acquaintance’s house to use the bathroom and get something to drink. An innocent act that had deadly consequences.

The water bottle she found in the refrigerator was poisoned with a dissolved fentanyl pill, according to investigators. An autopsy report found Walsh had 8.4 nanograms of fentanyl in her system, enough to kill four people.

Walsh overdosed on the drug. She was 24 years old.

Samantha Brawley, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, shows off the NARCAN nasal sprays and Fentanyl test strips that she carries while traveling in and around the Cherokee Indian Reservation where she offers support to people struggling with addiction. Ten percent of the tribe’s members received a substance-abuse diagnosis in 2012, the Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority reported in 2017.

Her family and friends remember the Apex High School and Appalachian State graduate as a passionate foodie, chef and nature lover, often photographing animals, plants and flowers.

“This individual did not have naloxone in their home and did not call 911,” said her mother, Barbara, in an interview. “It was not Sophia’s choice to die, and it was not her choice to ingest fentanyl.”

Since her daughter’s death, Barbara Walsh, has been raising awareness about fentanyl emergencies and working to increase the availability of the nasal spray drug naloxone, or Narcan, which reverses a drug overdose in two minutes. Her organization, Fentanyl Victims of North Carolina, highlights the many young people and their families affected by losses like her own.

Some leaders and advocates say the limited access to life-saving medication in schools should be expanded. Beyond school resource officers, advocates say, teachers, staff, school nurses and even students should have access to and be trained to administer the drug in case of an emergency.

“What is happening today is different than what happened 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago. It’s different than when I grew up,” Walsh said. “We were able to experiment and live. Today, that’s not always the case. The stigma some people have about (drugs) is from another era.”

In Wake County, 1,499 people died from drug emergencies from 2013 to 2023, according to the N.C. State Center for Health Statistics. Of that number, 867 — or 58% of the deaths — involved fentanyl. Statewide, more than 36,000 people died from drug misuse from 2000-22.

The synthetic opioid created in the 1960s is often prescribed for pain, and studies show it is 100 times more powerful than morphine. Many young people encounter fentanyl when experimenting with marijuana, Adderall, heroin, cocaine or other pills like ecstasy or Xanax.

Continue reading “Resource officers are now the only ones to carry Narcan in Wake schools. Can this change?”

CMS acknowledges teen drug use, will stock all public schools with Narcan

Narcan is the FDA-approved nasal form of naloxone for the emergency treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose. News & Observer file photo

Teens and drugs. The phrase has long gone together, but, nowadays, each puff passed, pill crushed and line sniffed threatens death, not a shaking finger.

In response to the bleak reality students face — where deadly opioids like fentanyl are easy to get and even harder to escape — the overdose reversal drug naloxone will soon be stocked in every Charlotte public school.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education unanimously approved the plan Tuesday, which was the first time the district openly addressed the topic of drug use among students.

Continue reading “CMS acknowledges teen drug use, will stock all public schools with Narcan”

Billboard Campaign: Who Dies Next?  fentvic.org hosts PSA Campaign

FIGHT FENTANYL to SAVE LIVES Digital Billboard Campaign

In Gaston, Mecklenburg, and Union Counties, NC


Barb Walsh, Executive Director, 919-614-3830, barb@fentvic.org
Fentanyl Victims Network of NC (fentvic), 501(c)(3) EIN 88-3921380 www.fentvic.org
Contact Barb to schedule interviews with local fentanyl victim families

4 LOCATIONS: Gaston, Mecklenburg and Union County, NC (see below)
Gastonia, Gaston County: I-85 just north of Cox Road exit facing South
South Charlotte, Mecklenburg County: 1) I-77 Southbound, near Westinghouse Blvd 2) I-77 Northbound, north of I-485 interchange, 3/10 mile Arrowood Rd
Monroe, Union County: US-74 Walkup Avenue, faces east

  • 1/7@12am -1/21/24@11:59pm. Runs 24/7, digital and illuminated.
  • Hosted by fentvic.org, NC fentanyl victim families and corporate good citizen Adams Outdoor (Julie Belnap, Account Executive)
  • Features 15 NC fentanyl fatality victims killed by fentanyl 15 different ways.
  • 1/20/24 Family Summit on Fentanyl Fatalities: Public Safety, Awareness & Justice.
  • 10:30-3:30. Private Event for NC Fentanyl Victim Families & Press who pre-register. Separate press release to be issued.
  2. Spark public safety conversations within communities and amongst families about the dangers of illicit fentanyl, particularly counterfeit pressed pills (Adderall, Xanax, Percocet)
  3. 7 out of 10 ‘street’ counterfeit pills contain lethal dose of fentanyl additives (DEA 2023)
  4. Raise awareness about 16,228 NC fentanyl fatalities, 2013-September 2023 (NC OCME)
  5. 1,615 fentanyl fatalities combined occurred in Gaston (311), Mecklenburg (1,118) and Union (186) 2013-Sept 2023 (source: NC State Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics Death Certificate Data)
  6. Links to fentanyl fatality data on fentvic.org website:
  • Fentvic is a charitable nonprofit located in Wake County NC. EIN #88-3921380
    • Fentvic is a action oriented grassroots nonprofit that promotes Public Safety, Education, Justice, Advocacy, and Support of NC fentanyl victim families in all 100 NC Counties

Put naloxone in schools so it can save lives

Drug-overdose deaths among people 10–19 years old jumped 109% between 2019 and 2021 in the U.S. To save lives, the AMA supports widespread access to safe and affordable opioid overdose-reversal drugs.

“We are facing a national opioid crisis and it’s affecting our young people at an alarming rate. Just as students carry prescription inhalers to treat an asthma attack, we must destigmatize substance-use disorders and treat naloxone as a lifesaving tool,” said Bobby Mukkamala, MD, chair of the AMA Substance Use and Pain Care Task Force.

“Fortunately, an overdose tragedy can be reversed if quick action is taken with these safe and effective medications like naloxone,” Dr. Mukkamala said. “Allowing teachers and students to carry these medications is a commonsense decision and will no doubt result in young lives saved.”

Continue reading “Put naloxone in schools so it can save lives”