Teen’s death linked to fentanyl, Franklin Co. Sheriff says

18-year-old Jacob Cope died on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024. According to a Facebook post from Franklin County Sheriff Kevin White, Cope died from accidentally ingesting “the tiniest amount of fentanyl

According to a Facebook post from Franklin County Sheriff Kevin White, Cope died from accidentally ingesting “the tiniest amount of fentanyl.”

“His family is scarred forever,” White said.

Cope’s friend, 2023 Heritage High School graduate Wilson Moore, was also found dead that morning.

White said he keeps Cope’s photo in his office to remind him why he wanted to become Franklin County Sheriff.

“It hits close to home for me,” he said. “It will serve as a constant reminder of the passion I have to end the rapid decline that is eroding our neighborhoods, our state and our country.”

It is unclear if fentanyl ingestion is the cause of Moore’s death, but Moore’s mother suspects it is drug-related.

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

As opioid overdoses rise in NC, Wake schools looking to stock naloxone in all schools

The Wake school system hasn’t had any reported overdoses, but other school systems have.

Wake County school officials plan to recommend naloxone — the overdose reversal medication — in every school and a policy for staff on training and using it.

Superintendent Robert Taylor told the school board’s safety and security committee Tuesday that officials will come to the committee in April with a proposed policy and a timeline for getting naloxone in every school, early learning center and administrative office.

Naloxone is a prescription medication that reverses opioid overdoses. It targets opioid receptors in the body and blocks the effects of opioid drugs, restoring breathing in a person who has overdosed. It must be administered soon after an overdose has begun and only lasts a short time. It can be administered in several ways but is commonly administered as a nasal spray.

The Wake school system hasn’t had any reported overdoses, but other school systems have.

Last year, naloxone was administered 21 times for a suspected overdose at a North Carolina school, usually by a school resource officer.

The district wants to have naloxone in part because of rising opioid overdoses among 10- to 19-year-olds, said Kelly Creech, district senior director of health and crisis prevention services.

Across the state, school resource officers, not school employees, carry naloxone.

Any upcoming policy proposal would reflect training requirements for employees who want to be able to administer it.

On Tuesday, school board members asked questions about who would have the ability to administer naloxone.

Under state law, school systems must have permission from the state health director to allow non-medical employees to administer naloxone.

Most school systems don’t have a policy in place for school employees to administer naloxone. Of the 86 counties that responded to the state survey, 83 reported school resource officers carrying naloxone.

The school system wants two doses in about 200 schools, early learning centers and central services offices. The average dose lasts between two and three years.

Read the full article on the WRAL TV5 News website.

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Families, teams hurting from suspected drug-related deaths of 2023 Heritage, Bunn grads

A pair of recent Triangle-area high school graduates who were friends linked through their love of baseball died over the weekend.

Two young men who were friends and shared a love of baseball died over the weekend, devastating families and teammates.

Wilson Moore, a 2023 graduate of Heritage High, and Jacob Cope, who graduated from Bunn High in 2023, both passed away on Saturday.

Both Moore and Cope played on a travel baseball team and their respective high school teams before graduating. The two met through work and developed a friendship. The sudden nature of their deaths shocked and saddened friends and family in recent days.

Moore’s GoFundMe said the family suspects Moore died from “accidental substance poisoning.” Cope, 18, also has a GoFundMe to support his family.

Rolesville police are investigating. A toxicology report has not been finalized.

Continue reading “Families, teams hurting from suspected drug-related deaths of 2023 Heritage, Bunn grads”

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.

TRAVIS LONG • TLONG@NEWSOBSERVER.COM
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?”