Eastern North Carolina counties & nonprofits address fentanyl crisis

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – More than 300 overdose deaths happen every day in our country and 75% of those are from fentanyl, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Counties and nonprofits in the East say that’s why they are raising awareness of the fentanyl crisis.

Mike Dixon, LIFE Ministries Founder and Director says, “It’s heartbreaking.”

The impact of the fentanyl crisis can be seen accross Eastern Carolina.

Jasmine Canady, Craven County Opioid Epidemic Response Outreach Coordinator says, “We are accounted for seventy deaths and that goes from January 2023 to December 2023 and we continue to be in the top 10 for one hundred counties unfortunately.”

Kasey Neal, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Special Operations Captain also told WITN, “We’re not an exception to this drug whether it be from increased crime rates or the rising number of overdoses. We are at 50 overdoses since January 1st. Last year we had a total of 140 and the year before that I think it was 159-160.”

Neal says it doesn’t just affect users but rather communities as a whole.

“It puts a strain on not only law enforcement but also fire and EMS personnel and our medical facilities,” says Neal.

Nonprofits and counties in the region say it’s vital to shed light on the issue due to the alarming data by providing hope to people.

“The crisis, even though it started out as an opioid epidemic by seeing a rise in overdoses in general, but it becomes a crisis when you start losing families, loved ones, snatching communities, and so that’s why. It’s not necessarily talked about until it’s at your front door,” Canady told WITN.

“There is hope. There’s hope for change. You don’t have to stay the way you are, and I don’t think there’s any more time than the time we’re living in than taking drugs,” says Dixon.

For more information on LIFE Ministries and Craven County Opioid Epidemic Response, visit their websites.