Opioid and Heroin Addiction Crisis in NC- “Searching for a Fix” – A WRAL Documentary

Opioid and Heroin Addiction Crisis in NC- “Searching for a Fix” – A WRAL Documentary


The following program is shot in 4k high
dynamic range and broadcast in high definition from Capitol Broadcasting Company. Aiden is the spitting image of Michael
He is definitely the one that has said a lot more you know I missed my dad, I miss
my dad. We worry about Mary Grace because she doesn’t talk about it as much, But
they’re both very bright. They’re doing great in school and they both love the
water. It’s something to see that really take to the water. They are in a loving
family now and I think that we’re gonna show them love them continue to show
them love as they get older and be honest about about their father’s death. it was an accidental overdose. In North Carolina last year there were 10 million prescriptions for opioids written. That’s one for every man woman and child in the state North Carolina. They get hooked. They can’t get any more of those pills so they go on the street, they get heroin which is cheaper and more plentiful. The power of the narcotic over the
person is unbelievable. We’re seeing overdoses from the age of 17 to 70 with
heroin and heroin derivatives in this community. It is everywhere. North Carolina is losing about a thousand people a year due to opiate overdoses It’s impacting families. It’s impacting individuals and it’s having a great impact on our community. I’m Jim Gray Michael Tabor Gray’s father.
I’m Sandy Tabor gray and I’m the mom of Michael. Michael was an extremely happy
baby. He loved his brother and sister. He tried every sport that there was. He loves soccer.
We live by the lake so he was a wakeboarder and you know loved to swim
and loved to be with his friends. We have a tree house out back that Jim and he had worked on and built. He broke his arm severely when he was
like 15. He was prescribed opiates and then I think it was just getting it
however he could, so he was getting it from other other kids. He was taking it
from other kids parents medicine cabinets without them knowing. And then
he was buying it. You know when those options were gone. It involved
stealing stealing and selling whatever he could to to support the habit. One
night Jim and I had been out to dinner and we we got home late and I noticed
something was different in my bedroom. And I opened up my jewelry armoire and
all of my gold was gone. And of course I knew right away what had happened to it.
And I asked him and he started crying. And I said I will help you get to
treatment but you are not coming back to this house. By mid afternoon we were off
to Tennessee to take him to treatment. And that is where he met the woman.
Before he was even 19 years old, he found out that she was pregnant with twins. He
was a very proud father and he did the best he could with what skills he had as
a 19 year old. Somewhere at this time is when he was introduced to heroin. The heroin
was so much more affordable and he chose to you know start injecting, injecting
heroin. He couldn’t really keep a job he wasn’t making enough money spending it
on other stuff. I think she was doing the same thing. We made arrangements to go to another treatment center and after he got out of treatment. It was recommended
that he go into aftercare he wound up in a halfway house in Asheville. So Michael
came home on the weekends. We’d had a great day then he asked if he could go
out and meet up with some friends and go to a meeting and come home later. And he
came home right when he said he would he kissed me goodnight, hugged me
and he loved me like you always did and he went upstairs to bed and then I went
to bed. The next morning was Sunday. I could hear the kids out upstairs. They
were yelling you know for their dad and got him out of their cribs. We’d all go
traipsing in there they’re calling dad and I’m, you know Michael, and he didn’t
move and honestly I didn’t think too much about it because he’s a very sound
sleeper. So I walked over to the bed to gently
you know touch him and he was cold. Autopsy results came back after several
weeks and it was ruled an accidental overdose of heroin. And there was fentanyl
in there. They asked about you know now why
how did daddy die? And you know I explained it as you know he was sick and
that his body just quit working. As the children grow they’re going to ask those questions and they’re gonna be more specific questions. It’s not a matter of
if we tell them the truth of his overdose. It’s just how and when. I don’t want them to think they have anything to be
embarrassed about. What their dad because it is a disease. I’m Trinlie Yeaman and Zoe was my
daughter. An amazing child, absolutely gorgeous. As a young child she was very
mothering, very nurturing. She was very smart, talented, played sports. She was
very, very diligent student. She was a really amazing, amazing kid.
She and I were just two peas in a pod. Her first real boyfriend,
his father had cancer and he was giving his son the pain pills.
His father was giving them to him and then he was giving him to Zoe. She was coming
home you know, she was just not acting right.
One night she was really upset, couldn’t really talk to me and then she
pulled her sleeves up and when she pulled her sleeves up I solved the marks.
And I I fell to the ground and cried. I mean it was devastating.
Got her into a rehab. They wouldn’t treat her because she wasn’t detoxed and so
then I started looking for rehabs. And there was nothing.
Everything was private. There is no rehab that’s affordable for adolescents.
So I decided oh I’m gonna go to the courthouse and get an involuntary
commitment. Sitting in the office of the secretary that would give me the papers
to fill out the IVC she said no, she’s not a candidate for an
IVC. And I was really depressed. I was trying so hard to get this child help
and there was there was nothing. Zoe suffered from depression and anxiety. She flipped out in front of her dad and he called me and I said let’s take her to
the hospital. She was there for almost a week and she
turned 18 while she was in there. I talked to him and I said can you please
now that she’s 18 I’ve got her on a list for a bed because she’s considered an
adult now. And I said can you all please hold her until the bed becomes open. It’s
going to be two weeks maximum and they said no. This is this is is the mental
health ward, not addiction facility, and she’s stable mentally, so we’re gonna
have to release her. She came back home with me I did not leave her alone
I wouldn’t let her go to the bathroom with the door closed. She had been with
me for about a week and a half and on a Tuesday she said I wouldn’t want to go
see Dad. She already had set up with her ex-boyfriend, the one that got her
addicted. The phone rang and it was her dad and he
was hysterical because he went in to wake Zoey up. And was probably about 6 or 6:30 in the morning and she was not alive. The house was just overcome with
EMTs of the police officers. They had her out on the floor doing CPR on her. I asked if I could just hold her hand,
you know maybe if she knew that I was there maybe she would come back. So my
last memory of my daughter is laying on the floor next to her, and I grabbed
her head. I remember grabbing her hand and trying to warm her up. This cuff bracelet, I gave to her and then I had one. And she never took it off.
Before they took her away, I took this off and put it on my arm and I have not
taken it off since. Three hours after they took her body away. the rehab
called me and said they had a bed for her. A parent should not be left dangling out
alone on their own. There should be more resources. I mean she had so much to
offer this world and and then we’re not gonna get to see it My name is Warren Gintis, father of Drew
Cantus and I’m Marsha Gintis and Drew’s mom. Easiest kid in the world growing up. Happy-go-lucky. Very happy. You can’t find a picture I’m without a smile. Loved baseball. Had lots of friends.
He was the one that made people laugh and made his friends laugh and he was
the jokester and the comic. When he was in middle school he loved to skateboard. Played guitar for a little while. Was in a youth group. Loved video games like any kid his age. Pretty typical childhood. In high school he started to wrestle and
that became his passion. I can remember the match where the opponent was
obviously better than he was and it was obvious Drew was going to lose but he
wasn’t going to get pinned and he fought it, fought it, fought it, when he
could have laid down and got pinned and gone on. But he separated his shoulder
in that and things were never the same, never the same in his life or our life
after that one match. He said he lost his identity when he was not wrestling.
Drugs got involved somewhere there and by his senior year you know he just quit
going to school. He had teachers that went to bat for him, everybody went to
bat for him, everybody but but Drew went to bat for Drew. Addiction is is a
monster and it changes families, it ruins lives, you know. That wasn’t Drew. Rehab did not go well for him. You’ve got
to warn it and he didn’t want it. We wanted it, everybody else wanted it, but
he didn’t want it. And that was that was the problem. We tried everything. We went
from wilderness to rehab in California to the Healing Place here in Raleigh to
rehab in Wilmington to an Oxford House. He knew someone from rehab that was out
in Florida and he went down there. And we thought he was doing okay. We
planned a trip out there, We’d bring down his surfboard and a car. And we got down
there we were supposed to meet him for dinner and he didn’t he didn’t show up.
Now we thought, Drew, you know what are you doing? We were about to leave the
hotel that’s the morning and got a phone call from the detective who had his
phone. And and he didn’t want to tell me over the phone and he and I just kept
asking, you know is, he okay, is he okay? I said, no, I’m very sorry. The coroner found that the cause of
death was fentanyl and bath salts. He was not shooting at that time. He was snorting. You’re just totally numb. I mean life just drains from you. You don’t have a
reaction. It just stops. We just stopped. We drove all the way back from Florida,
two of us, and I don’t think we said a word. You always think you know what could youhave done differently? How could you have done this differently? He was 21 years old. He lost his whole
life. My name is Patti West and Paxton West is
my son. I’m Gary West and I am Paxton’s father.
When I think about Paxton as a child, I think about this little blonde headed boy
with a head full of curls with cowboy boots on. And he was the happiest child
you have ever seen. He played baseball, karate, soccer, wrestling, football, all of
the sports. He just loved life and got into it, laughed, was funny, good sense of humor, very compassionate. When he was a freshman in high school he
had a serious knee injury and that was his first time taking opiates. His junior
year in high school he and his sister had their wisdom teeth taken out. He was
prescribed medication percocet or something similar to that. It’s almost
like that’s when the addiction really began to kick in. That, that’s when he
started seeking more drugs. That’s when he started stealing to support his habit.
Paxton’s statement is addiction what causes you to sell your own mother to get
money. His habit had developed to the point that he was needing about 275 to
300 dollars worth of opiates a day to keep going. From my understanding that’s
when he switched to heroin because heroin could be bought much cheaper. He
could spend between forty and sixty dollars a day. Gosh, talk about
being in denial. We had no idea that that his addiction
was to the degree that it was. Ideally we come down and visit Paxton
once every six weeks. I miss him so much and I miss I miss him being the part of
the family. Miss him terribly. It’s what keeps me from completely going under. To be able to see him, to be able
to touch him, to be able to hold his hand. I get a little anxious when I see that
razor wire. The nature of my child having to be behind a fence like that, that
keeps him in, that he will get out from behind for a long long time. Most of my crimes were property crimes,
breaking and entering, larceny, felony larceny, obtaining property by
false pretenses, and that kind of thing. I went to prison the first time on
February 14th 2014. I ended up here at Pender Correctional Center because I
got out of prison the first time went home I was doing well for the first
couple months and then you know ran into that old crowd. I relapsed and ended up
stealing and doing those same things. And came right back within six months. I hid it from my parents by you know wearing long sleeves a lot of times you know
even if it was the dead of summer 100 degrees to cover up the needle marks.
I’ve been a treatment I’ve been to 28-day rehabs. I’ve been to outpatient
treatment. I’ve also done the suboxone treatment plan
I’ve done it all. Most of the time when I went to treatment I went because somebody else wanted me to go to treatment. I wasn’t ready to get clean.
You have to want to get clean for yourself and you want to better your own
life. And I wasn’t doing that. When I get out you know it’s a gonna be a
process, some sort of schooling and job. I ultimately want to help people that are
like me, social worker, certified substance abuse counselor, just anything
of that nature. He knows now that he’s clean what he needs to do It’s just if he
can maintain that. Once he is released, we will support him.
We will never give up on him. My parents support has meant the world to me
because you know being behind this fence I’ve seen a lot of guys that don’t have
any support whatsoever, and being that my parents are here and supporting me and
helping me through that I mean it means the world to me. They could have turned their backs on me a long long time ago but they haven’t. The prescription opioid and prescription
medication issue that we are seen in Guilford County is really unprecedented.
The instance of occurrence of response to opioids used to be something that was
a once or twice a week event. We’re seeing it now multiple times a day. We’ve had as many as seven overdoses in a single day. All of the providers within this system carry naloxone. So that is the
reversal agent and they can be administered by law
enforcement officers, by firefighters, or by paramedics. 28 year-old male, lethargic,
semi responsive, inside a laundromat. Talking to us initially basically denied any drug use. However
his pupils were pinpoint, respirations were continually slowing, so
definite heroin overdose, known user. Fixing to administer narcan, respiratory
rates about six a minute right now. Talk to me! Hey, bub! Open your eyes! I’m talking. I’m fine. You’re talking, you’re fine. Yeah. Yeah, you
went out on me. I went out on you? Yeah. Wow. not really, I mean, I’ve been pretty much… Remember everything happened? Yeah. So you remember stop breathing? No, I… Okay, you remember us putting a tube down your nose? Uh, yes. One of the things about opioids is that they depress the central
nervous system and as such they’re immediately life-threatening because
people do not breathe adequately when they overdose. Okay,
listen partner, you’re not in trouble. I just need to know because I had to give
you a narcan to get you breathing again. Okay, so be straight I need you shoot
straight with me. When’s the last time you used? Haven’t.
Eventually he did admit to using what they call a straight five bag or a five
dollar bag stated is from his typical supplier, was his typical dose but
evidently had been cut with something different than what he was used to. When
people transcend over to the illicit market they simply are not aware of the
strength of what they are purchasing. It’s a combination of heroin it’s a
combination of a crystalline heroin also known as fentanyl. You’re willing to
accept the risk that you could possibly die from this. Yes, I do but I’m not
going to, They’re like any other patient. They have the right to refuse any
further care, which he did. So you willing to take that risk?
Yes. Near ninety nine percent of them will refuse every time on their willing to
accept that risk. There’s always a question whether naloxone facilitates
continued narcotic use. I’ve never had have narcan used on you? In no way do I
think it facilitates narcotic use. What I think it does is prolongs the
opportunity for life for the patient until we can get them into treatment. Go finish your laundry. Good luck to you. There’s a lot of help out there for you. Alright. Go look for it. I don’t want to be too late one day. Are we just enabling this? Well the data,
the research doesn’t show that that’s the reality. Naloxone when it’s used to
bring somebody back from an overdose is not a pleasant experience. When someone’s in an overdose state and they’re brought out of it quickly by a naloxone, it
actually is uncomfortable. It can be painful. It’s not something that is fun.
This is something they they would rather not go through but the reality is in
that situation, you’re saving a life. fFom 2013 to 2016 our calls have gone up
263 percent for overdoses. One of the first times I came across naloxone as an
officer was when the EMS responded to our middle school and there was a 12
year old girl that was found in the locker room and she was unresponsive.
EMS administered naloxone and within a few minutes she woke up and was back. And this is a 12 year old girl in the middle school. So that was an eye-opener for me. We had
our first overdose reversal in January of 2015. We were the first law
enforcement agency in the state to reverse an opiate overdose. This is our
overdose kit which is issued to all of our officers. This is your vial of
naloxone and this is your syringe applicator. Take the top off the locks on
vial put them together and you take out your mucosal atomizer and put it on the
front. And then you have your syringe ready to administer this internally
anytime there’s a person in crisis. That’s where we need to be and certainly
in the last couple of years this has been one of our greater crises. And for
law enforcement that may not be the historical avenue by which you do your
work but certainly in the last 10 or 15 years that’s how the job has changed. We
are very much involved with the addiction crisis and the resulting
overdose crisis. A lot of people don’t realize Wilmington North Carolina is the
number one city in the U.S. for opioid abuse. So I know you got some dirties for
me. Okay I got around 250. Alright so we got 250 coming in and one empty.
Yeah. My name is Michael page and for the Harm Reduction Coalition.
I run the mobile syringe exchange and I am an outreach worker. You’re gonna take two grab bags yeah and then some naloxone.
How many naloxones do you want? Give me two. We have a phone number that’s in all
of our grab bags and people can call that number,
let me know where they are in town and either myself or another volunteer we’ll
go out meet them. We collect the dirty syringes that they may have. we give them
clean syringes as well as other things that will prevent have seen HIV and we
also give them resources like referrals for mental health needs or substance
abuse needs. You know about the harbor if you need to get into detox. You know I’ve
got access to treatment if you want treatment. It was very attractive to me
because I am in recovery and the principles and things that Harm
Reduction works towards we’re dear to my heart specifically
naloxone distribution as naloxone to saved my life numerous times. And also
syringe exchange as during my active addiction I contracted Hep C so these
are both things that I could relate to and wanted to prevent others from having
to go through. So if someone comes to me and says, hey Mike, I just need a grab bag,
I have grab bag set up and each one of these bags is gonna have syringes
cookers cottons and resources. They also get a referral sheet. This is going to
have opioid treatment referrals and resources. So also when they get a grab
bag they’re gonna be offered a sharps container because we do want to collect
our sharps back, keep them off the streets. And they’re also going to be
offered naloxone. I do get frequent phone calls from people saying oh you’re
enabling or all you’re adding to the problem.
Yeah I’m enabling them to be HIV and Hep C free. Sure I’ll own that.
I would also say to them that 8% of the people that I engage with have sought
recovery because of the resources and referrals that they’ve gotten through
our syringe exchange program. I would say to them that we’ve collected close to
30,000 sharps off the streets of this county where people are playing where
kids are playing. So Don, I just wanted to make sure you have adequate supplies
for you and your crew for the week, so I’ve got 300 clean insulin syringes.
HIV decreases by 80%, Hep C decreases by 50%, crime actually goes down by 11%
because people are getting resources. Did you have any dirties to turn in today? Yeah. I think what Mike does for this area is great. Yeah and you’ve got one loose one
so watch yourself down there. Keeps the trash off the streets, keeps people from
sharing, this keeps you safe. My name is Donald Lawrence and I live in Wilmington,
North Carolina. A lady friend of mine introduced a little different things to
me and you know I tried a little of this and a little of that. Mostly it was with
her it was pills. You know she liked the different prescription meds. It kind of
went from there. Everything went dry and heroin is just, you get the same effects
from and it was more readily available and cheaper. It is a daily thing for me.
An addict this person that I say, I mean physically addicted. Ao you know
when you stop you suffer the you know various withdrawal symptoms. So yeah I
definitely would have withdrawal symptoms.
I would say my heroin uses probably has affected my relationships with family
with non using friends, that has distanced those relationships. I think
about quitting every now and again. It doesn’t really bother me a lot. There’s
some people who beat themselves up over usage, their addiction. With me after like
I use because I want to use and I really feel like if I wanted to quit I
would quit because I wanted to. I can’t see myself as a grandfather you know
bouncing my grandkids on my knee being an active heroin user. So you know I’m
hoping that you know my my attitude will change towards it you know sooner rather
than later. When I was sleeping in the Walmart parking lot and I I knew that, I was like this is not sustainable. This is happening to your neighbor. This
is happening in your house. This is happening to your family. My name is Ethan Buck. I am 20 years old.
I’m from Greenville North Carolina. I had a family member that it went through a
surgery and I saw another family a member of mine begin to take medications
from them and I’ve repeated the behavior. I was 12 years old when I first did this.
Prescription pills were usually opioids. It snowballed. I had a friend of mine you
know he would always bring around heroin. When I use it I realized that it wasn’t
any different than the prescription pills.
The feeling was the same, there’s a little stronger but it wasn’t any
different. It was a lot easier to get a hold of. It’s a little bit cheaper. It was
just that one of those things where I tried it and I was like I really like
this you know, I like the whole aspect of snorting and everything. And that
eventually evolved into using an IV and the real only reason I like that have
you just because it was a faster means of injection. I never thought of myself
as an addict at that point. What I did think of myself was I don’t want to
tell anybody what I was doing, that I was ashamed of what I was doing because I
knew there wasn’t right. I definitely knew that I had crossed a line. I
definitely knew that I had done something that was gonna be very hard to
stop but I would always tell myself that I could stop whenever I wanted to. But I
just didn’t want to yet. Really destroyed my relationships with
my family. When I was sleeping in the Walmart parking lot, I knew that I was like
this is not sustainable. I think the one turning point was that I realized that I
was never going to be able to amount anything with the way I was going. And I
decided you know that I had to do something and that’s when I made a call
to a friend who took me to detox. Addiction is a disease that is always in
treatment. Individuals with alcohol and other drug problems or substance use
disorders, these problems often are lifelong conditions and treatment and
management of those conditions need to reflect a kind of continuing care model.
And historically what we’ve done is we will put somebody in a short-term
program and then expect that that single intervention is going to produce
lifelong change. And the gold standard would be that any individual with
substance use disorder would get five years of continuing care and checkups
following the treatment episode. People often have trouble staying in recovery or
initiate recovery and then return to using frequently because there’s an
inadequate dose and duration of services. All individuals with an alcohol or other
drug problem are deserving of support compassion care and not just simply a
criminal justice response. It’s not always beneficial to, for lack
of a better word, hook them and book them and throw them in jail for drug violations.
It’s not helping anyone. It really is it’s not helping the
individual and it’s not helping law enforcement. LEAD is the Law
Enforcement Assistance Diversion program. The Fayetteville Police Department was the
first agency to implement LEAD within North Carolina.
It pretty much tries to divert low-level drug offenses and sex workers from the
court systems and from getting charged. The officer should engage them in
conversation to determine why they were being arrested. And once they determine
that it was because of a drug addiction then the officer can give them options
as far as learning how to get help with the drug addiction. If you participate in
this program and follow your treatment stuff right you’re not going to be
charged. Locking them up is not the answer.
Ninety-nine percent of the people that are incarcerated come back into the
community right, so would you rather have that individual on the program or would
you rather have them out in the street, just running to lose committing crimes? The goal of the lead program is to actually better the community, give people
opportunity to you to better themselves. As far as getting help they need. Well
this particular epidemic didn’t just happen overnight. If you ask any police
officer why they got into police work in the first place eventually they’re gonna
get around to saying because I want to help people. To me it’s pretty clear that arresting
someone for possession of a drug, user amount, putting them in jail and going
through that cycle over and over again is not doing anything. If I can get them
out of the criminal justice system and into a recovery so that they can become
productive citizens again, then I think that I am truly helping someone. Hey, I need to talk to somebody about the
Hope Initiative. The Hope Initiative is program where an individual can come to the Nashville
Police Department. They can ask to get into recovery or seek help for their
substance use disorder. If they have drugs or paraphernalia on them at the
time, we don’t charge them with any crime. We’re gonna first take you down to the
hospital and they will start the detox protocol. And so then we work with them
to get them started in their recovery process. And getting those people out of
the criminal justice system saves a lot of money. It really does cost about a
third or less to get somebody into treatment. And then to keep them out of
the criminal justice system as it does, to house them in a jail or prison, we know
that what we were doing before by arresting people putting them in jail wasn’t
working, it wasn’t happening any impact whatsoever. Things continually got worse. Obviously because we’ve been doing that for years decades.
We need more facilities to concentrate on treatment of individuals because
there’s so many people out there that need to go to a treatment program. One of
the missing elements for folks is hope. You know and we can help provide hope
when I say we, society can, the media can, by emphasizing that recovery is a real
thing, that people do get into recovery and it benefits everyone, and it’s
something that’s worth investing in. Recently I’ve been a writing a blog,
working with wood, going to school, and I figured out what I want to do in my life
so I really been a spend a lot of time in like self-reflection. My clean date is September the 20th of 2015. I remember
the day that out that I walked away from there. The the director of the treatment
center took me to one of their recovery homes and I got in there and I remember
thinking maybe this is, this is what it’s all about you know. And I was able to get
in with a group of guys that I found, that I found love for, that I found a
relationship with. I had seen what it was like to really enjoy and live life and
not just go through it and just looking for something.
I wasn’t looking for anything anymore. I had found it. Everyday four North Carolinians
die from a medication or drug overdose. The number of statewide opioid overdose
deaths has grown by nearly 400% in seven years.
Drug overdose is now the number one cause of accidental death
surpassing vehicle crashes. If you look at the number of people who are dying,
each year it keeps going up and up and it’s going up at an alarming rate.
Started out where pharmaceutical companies were advertising that opioids
were not addictive. When it turns out clearly they are quite addictive, there
was a cultural, societal movement to trying to address pain and minimizing
pain for patients. Doctors have fairly generously prescribed these opioids over
time, and so over the last ten to fifteen years all of these things coming
together have resulted in a growing number of people who are addicted to
opioids. In North Carolina last year there were ten million prescriptions for
opioids written That’s one for every man woman and child in the state of North
Carolina, a total of over 700 million pills. So that means that there are
hundreds of millions of unused pills in folks’ medicine cabinets. The crisis
requires us to have a public health approach, to have a mental health
approach, to have a law enforcement approach. The goal of the Strengthen
Opioid Misuse Prevention Act or STOP act is to ensure smarter prescribing and
dispensing of highly addictive prescription drugs. The STOP act will
reduce the number of people who become addicted in the first place because it
will encourage smarter prescribing practices by doctors and dentists. It
also requires use of a database called the Controlled Substances Reporting
Service, which is important to eliminate doctor shopping doctor shopping has been
a problem in North Carolina because what they’ll
do is they can go to one doctor and get a prescription, go to an emergency room
and get a prescription, go to another doctor and get a prescription to feed
their their habit. Only 27% of doctors in North Carolina use this database. The
CSRS which is a database that includes every prescription written for an opiate.
If doctors aren’t using the database, they have no way of knowing
whether someone’s doctor shopping. The STOP act as introduced had 20 million
dollars over two years for community-based treatment and recovery
services. We as a state, we as a community, we simply have not prioritized having
sufficient treatment facilities to help people get healthy. If you don’t have
insurance or the ability to to private pay, how do you get the funding for it,
you know where does that funding come from to get services and again to get
services that are of adequate dose and duration? One of the things that’s
missing is a lot of community-based supports and community-based resources,
and resources that will be there to support people in engaging in recovery
and sustaining their recovery. North Carolina law must give law enforcement
the tools it needs to hold drug traffickers accountable. That is exactly
what the Synthetic Opioid Control Act does. The Synthetic Opioid Control Act
takes aim at dozens of these known fentanyl ingredients by classifying them
as controlled substances. Last year there was a type of fentanyl, these chemically
created opiates, that was responsible for at least 77 deaths, 77 deaths that we know
about in North Carolina that is not an illegal substance in North Carolina. So
if law enforcement had found the traffickers who brought that agent of
death into North Carolina and they had pounds of it, we wouldn’t have been able
to charge them with a crime. So we have to update North Carolina law to make
sure that it reflects the dangers that exist in our state. And so the Synthetic
Opioid Control Act will help close that loophole for the drug traffickers who
were importing these products into North Carolina. The heroin and the fentanyl
that is killing our people and they’re making millions those folks need to be
in jail for the rest of their lives. But if your crime is simply the fact that
you’re sick and you have an illness substance use disorder in a changed
brain chemistry and you’re just using an illegal substance, I question whether
jail is the best way to deal with that person. We lost a beautiful vibrant
absolutely wonderful son to this epidemic and it started because of an
automobile accident where he broke a couple of bones he was given a vial of
these horrid horrid addictive drugs and he started a downhill spiral that ended
up with the loss of his life. There’s a lot of attention on this issue because
it’s impacting middle-class white families. When a problem hits closer to
home it’s harder to assign stereotypes and I think one of the biggest
misconceptions that exists out there is that individuals with alcohol and other
drug problems have chosen to have that problem. Even when you talk to folks who
kind of say, yeah I think that you know addiction is similar to hypertension but
the difference is the person with hypertension didn’t choose to have
hypertension, the person diabetes didn’t choose to have that. Overlooking kind of
the voluntary choices around diet exercise the environmental factors and
things like that. That issue of choice, that this is kind of a willful thing
separates this condition from other conditions. And so when it’s looked at
that way there’s a tendency to not have as much compassion or sympathy. My dad as a minister also a professor at
the college teaching religion classes, and my mother is now the executive
director of a homeless shelter, and I just wanted to be known that it just
goes to show that that the disease of addiction does not discriminate. We’ve got to find some way to reduce the
stigma related to this. :ots of folks still want to make it a moral issue. They
can be very judgmental. Because I’m out of a church background, I wish the pulpit
would address it more, that churches would address it more, and other community
groups. It is something that that people don’t want to talk about. It’s
embarrassing. Drug addicts are not bad people. They have a bad disease, they have
a bad problem that causes them to do bad things.
But I really feel like that the best thing we can do is to reach out to them
and let them know that they’re cared about, even if they’re still using, while
they’re still using because, maybe just maybe you’re gonna offer that place that
they feel safe enough to start that process of wanting to turn it around. Drew the person was way different than
Drew the addict. Drew the person was great. Drew the addict was not so good. If our
son was diabetic, you know we could talk on the street about him being diabetic.
But when you talk about drug addiction, it’s it’s well, he should never start in
the first place, which is true but you know, it is a disease. The addict needs to
get help. the family of the addict needs to get help. It’s a family disease. It’s a
family disease. Just don’t be afraid to get help. You can’t hide this. You can’t
put it in a closet and say it’ll go away. It won’t. There’s still that segment of the
population that looks at us and say, wow they’re bad parents. It wouldn’t happen
in our family, but it can happen to anybody. The stigma that’s attached to drug
addicts and to parents that have raised children that turn into drug addicts,
that stigma is definitely there. I have a lot of people that have a lot of
compassion for me, but then I have other people that look at me and, you know, they
you can tell that they are thinking, that I was bad parent. And I really tried to
do everything I could to save her. People need to talk more about the
issues people need to be open with what they’re going through. My parents asked
me what what do you want us to say to people, what should we say when we go to
church? I said you say what happened. You say that she had a drug overdose, and I
said you you talk about it. It needs to be talked about openly. I mean this is
something that is killing the next generation that’s coming up
behind us, this this epidemic, it’s killing them. I’ve probably known six other kids that
have died since Michael. I mean I personally known them, not just I’ve
heard of them. I personally known them. I don’t think there’s a silver bullet. You
know there’s not just one thing that can be done. I think there’s there’s a whole
multitude of things that need to happen. Education awareness, breaking down that
stigma so people aren’t afraid to talk about that it’s happening. Everybody’s
got a part and I think that’s what people need to realize is that this
isn’t happening over there on the other side of the tracks or in
downtown or this is happening to your neighbor. This is happening in your house.
This is happening to your family. This is happening in your schools. This is
happening at your workplace. This is everywhere. We talk a lot about
Michael. You know, just memories. It’s fun to keep
Michael alive in their eyes like that. They are in a loving family now and I
think that we’re gonna show them love and continue to show them love as they
get older and be honest about their father’s death. I can only think about
what influence that might have in their little lives. Maybe it won’t have any. I
just think there’s so much negativity around us that I think when it comes out
I think they’ll have to come to terms with it and hopefully be able to be
honest about to others who ask well how did your father die? you

100 comments

  1. Opiates has turned my life upside down I almost died, and it all started with my back still 2 surgeries later I’m still in the worst pain of my life. I finally got help and yes I’m on methadone maintenance right now my life has somewhat gotten better financially a complete turn around my dad told my daughter I’m
    A disappointment to him. He could be saying that to me 10 feet under or behind bArs. My clinic is amazing I’m getting therapy and group therapy I have so many people on my side for support but the only person I care about my dad my hero is disappointed in me

  2. Mike Paige what you're doing is quite a noble thing! For all of us who truly know how the mind of an addict works, the will only seek help when THEY are willing and ready…I'm the meantime you are providing safety to not only addicts but an entire community. God bless you ❤

  3. Guess they are saving welfare payments. Rehab is big business these rehab places don’t want the epidemic to finish addiction is there business model. Great parents shitty kids.so many grandparents raising kids off shitty kids. That second chick that escalated fast

  4. They are in a loving family now ,is what they said what junkies can't feel love . That is what the kids would hear you got too educate a waste . Bring it in kids love their parent . Ûu

  5. It's always someone else's fault that their kids took heroin. Sorry guys, the day you accept that your own kids make their own choices, you are going to be held by the throat and will never learn to forgive.

  6. Y m french my addiction begin at 13 y have a motorcycle crash with 19 brake after that y recive morphine and other pain killer …at 15 y try héroïne thé first time and that was like the part of me that y miss in thé past ..but after 3 years y need 4 grammes à day and my live wenn to à nightmare y m 36 and after jail and loisirs all y have y try to stay sober its not easy…dont try it !!

  7. Ive taken opiods for 4 years straight, Oxycontin: 180mgs twice a day. once my surgeries were done and pain was tolerable, I flushed the rest of the script, and was done! No withdrawls, no addictions to them at all. Take them how the doctor instructs you to, and its fine. Its the people who choose to abuse them and keep taking more and more to chase the high, that end up in this downfall.

  8. As someone in recovery I truly can’t say enough to how amazing it is that this families were open and honest about their families struggles with addiction. More people speaking out and being honest will keep helping to connect with those who don’t understand this issue.

  9. Lots of people have very severe chronic pain that rely on opioid medication. Now we cant access it because of other peoples tragic but personal choice. Its been a fentynl heroin epidemic not pill epidemic for many years..people are exploiting the so called opioid crisis for monetary gain..rehab companies are gigantic money making schemes.

  10. shes absolutely right. when someone cares about you it really helps to turn to them and open up and confide in them. bless her

  11. Ya see what happened, The people that wanted the Laws on the books had to trade Half of Money's allocated for treatment so, Their just putting more people in jail which I have no problem with if they are selling or importing that shit.. But Why take 10 million from the people's care. I don't think that was right at all…

  12. Stop the opioid addiction quickly. Mandatory & regular injections of Naloxone for all known opiate addicts. Failure to comply then the addict should then be sentenced to a 12 months specialist rehabilitation prison with drug counselors, psychiatrist, psychologists involvement. Fail a drug test then send them straight back to the real prison system with a minimum 12 months sentence with work related lock up. Time to get tough with mandatory drug tests, mandatory Naloxone injections for a period of at least 5 years.

  13. its a damn shame that the crack epidemic didn't get all of this attention. It was lock up the dealer and the user. nobody ever said it was a disease. it wasn't declared a national crisis. There was no one out in the streets that gave a sh*t. What makes this crisis any different? In this video, everyone they showed getting locked up are black. Maybe this whole epidemic is judgement on a certain demographic.

  14. Looking for a fix? Go ask Trump. Because he has DRUG connections everywhere. He can get anything your little heart desires!! 😀💊💊💊💊💉💉💉💉💉💊💊💊💉💉💉💊💊💊💉💊💉💊💊💊💉💉💉💉💊💊💊💊😵

  15. As an Anästhesist from Europe i cannot believe that they give Opiats to young kids for a injured knee or pulling out wisdom teeth….this is far to strong!!!! They are a lot of alternative pain medications…this is unbelievable!!!!! Opiats are for Pat with chronic Pain ,not for young Teenagers! So Pat with real chronic Pain gonna suffer as a result of this self created Opiat crisis!!! They are the ones who need this treatment! Also all this so called Pain clinics in Florida who give Opiats to anyone for money should all loose their license…period! This is ruthless and here in Europe not possible! Opiats can be really helpful to Pat who really need them and give them more quality in life, specially chronic Pain Pat….but this….is a bad abuse of this medication! And so many young kids lost forever…i feel for all the parents out there!

  16. The one who will invent a brain reset vaccine will be worshiped for eternity, and his name will be forged in human history for ever.

  17. Heroin has mess my life up totally if it wasn't for my family I would have been dead a long time ago jail and prisons have,nt,help me the drug have totally been my life I'm so tried of it lm,now 47 been doing it for 30years I'm going to a program for the first time in my life I pray to God that this Will help me 2019Ricmond Va

  18. So the massive bear in the corner is Big Pharma….and another thing…why are American parents ok with their children taking strong painkillers after routine surgery.its ridiculous.

  19. Jesus!!! Fentanyl and BATH SALTS!!!! See now, dealers be trying to save a buck so they dont tell fucking people what they're actually getting. They do what they know they can handle in heroin, but if its Fentanyl and BATH SALTS!!!! WTF!!!!!!

  20. I can’t feel sorry for these kind of teens or people … they even came from good families … and had a good future to look forward to. Lust of the flesh … just to get high … sensuality. Self … and the easiest way of pleasure and to escape life.

    Many of us, who are also suffering in life … oppression, depression suppression, rejection and failures … never took this pathway of life … not even marijuana … as my young brother puts it … the natural herb …

    I don’t even drink to hide the pain or depression!!! Those stimulants are temporal … an illusion, never a solution … you cannot hide or numb yourselves from “actual” life …

    To my understanding, these aren’t solutions!!! … Real solutions are actual breakthroughs in life … that was putting us down in the first place … taking charge of challenges, just face it, till you succeed …

    … or keep taking chances, till it kills you .. or gives you success.

    There also another way, the lay way … just go with the flow, and losing greed and wants, go where the waves takes you … and see where it brings you to … living a simplest lifestyle … but a big gamble .. one may end up in the streets and dying there … when old.

  21. We need to so children films like this and ones that also show the uglier and deadlier side of addiction before they take that first hit. Substance abuse should be a class that kids are taught in school like Math, Science, and English. History is good to know but it is not going to save your life. However, taking a class on addiction will. The media and politicians keep talking about the opioid epidemic but all they do is try to control and regulate the drugs and lock more people in jail. These methods won't do anything to curb the problem it has to start early with education before they take that first hit. Basically, people need drug rehab before the addiction not after by then for most it's too late. We can drastically reduce the number of addicts by educating children about addiction. Why grammar schools aren't teaching kids about this yet I cannot understand. Not like the D.A.R.E. classes of the nineties that were mostly a bunch of malarkey. Classes that so the real consequences of taking drugs.

  22. You're absolutely right they should never be embarrassed for their dad it is a disease and many of us lose our lives to it unfortunately; and the ones left behind are always suffering

  23. Its truly a monster addition is so powerful cunning it sneeks up on you and your done…and after that you'll always be trying to get back your life ..

  24. My nephew just died too same way . He left an 11 year old son mom dad and 2 older sisters. 1 year ago. And he had epilepsy

  25. Narcan is just a crutch. They think they can keep shooting up, and they will keep being rescued. I think they should get 3 chances. If they do not seek help, we should stop rescuing them. It sounds harsh, but we have limited resources. People are just keeping the customer alive. They have good intentions, but it has to stop.

  26. What's so terrifying is watching these videos and I was curious and Googled pain meds that I've been prescribed and they are opiates or opioids and I never even had any idea! Doctors should at the very least tell the person!!!

  27. After seeing lots of documentaries, I am starting to believe that doctors in United States prescribe high dosage of drugs. For example : so far my knowledge, no one except Americans get really high on the numbing medication given during wishdom tooth removal. Here, they just numb the area around the tooth and we are absolutely clear in our minds.
    It'e not like non americans have taken prescribed opioid but the numbers of abuse from abuse from prescribe drugs among americans is comparativley high.

  28. As a parent, my heart is broken for these parents.
    As a chronic pain patient, we as a whole are being punished because of the abuse of opiods. Its not only Dr's responsibility to help patients in need, but also those of us legally prescribed these medications is to not give/sell them to other people. Also dont leave medications out where people can find them and steal them. Ive seen so many people have theirs stolen because they didn't think to put them away hidden. Most people keep them in their bathroom and that is the most private way for an abuser to steal them with no one seeing.
    It also bothers me that alcohol and alcoholism have far more deaths over time and no one is fighting against that. No one "needs" alcohol(unless an alcoholic). Many of us need medications just to be able to walk, feed our kids etc
    Side note: it sickens me that mental health units arent assisting with the addiction crisis. It is a mental illness! Everyone is passing the buck off to everyone else and people dont have help. Or not help soon enough 🙁

  29. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

    If someone needs to be dissuaded from trying heroin, there's already something very wrong.

  30. I find it very very nice that the parents still say " I am the parent of …" even if their child is dead so they could say " I was the parent". Very sad

  31. The boyfriend who got her addicted?? Excuse me,but unless he forcibly put the drugs down her throat,the decision was hers.

  32. Not sure it’s a disease I have terminal cancer and that’s a disease ….they chose to do drugs and chose to not get clean …disease you don’t choose.. I would do anything in the world to live and these people killed them selves

  33. You tell them the truth. He was an addict. I take suboxone. It works. I was not able to stop hydrocodone. All i ever took was 2 pills per day. Thats how powerful these drugs are. The day i realized that i wanted more than 2 pills per day as prescribed. I got help. Fast. 3.5 years now. It costs $250.00 per month. I have a good life. A great wife. Im 60. I may be on suboxone the rest of my life. So what. I was never going to throw my life away. There is to much to do. And not enough time. Life will always throw punches at you. Pull your pants up and fight.

  34. As far as drew? Who paid for all this? How did he pay for all the drugs he was taking? Did he work? Please dont tell us everything was handed to him. A car, money, car insurance. Who paid for all of it? Did he ever work? Who paid for his phone? Gas money? Ive been on my own since i was 16. Nobody ever gave me a dime. Sometimes i wonder if parents are doing right by paying everything for these kids today. None of them want to work. All they want to do is play on there phone. Am i wrong? Then live at home till there 28. Really? Put these kids to work. Its bad enough mommy and daddy both have to work. At some point in the future a child will have to work just to make the mortgage payment. Now you can keep a grown adult on your health insurance till they are 26. Whats wrong with that picture? Lazy. Thats whats wrong.

  35. I have MS… Was prescribed oxy, fentanyl,morphine,…. What a nightmare..Haven't touched it in years…use Cannabis now….no opiates required…it's garbage and almost ruined my life.

  36. Maybe that Mom should I tried to help him before he stole her gold. Then she took notice, I have been addicted to pills I got help and THANK GOD I had that opportunity because I was wanting to quit for the longest my body would not n let me. 3 years addicted 3 years clean as we speak no relapse but I will never let myself think I can HANDLE it cuz no it handled me before I knew.

  37. There has to be a problem with the way they cut people off the pills! We do get painkillers from oure doctors here in Norway to. But if we been on in for a long time we get commited into detox and get help to quit. Not everybody make it, but mlst of them do.

  38. Ah so sad, My condolences to Zoe and Drew's Mom, Dad and family. I cannot fathom the thought of losing my child under any circumstances. Best wishes for Paxton and his family, don't give up. Kudos to the guy that does the syringe exchange and gives out grab bags. Addicts need help not a death sentence.

  39. I always wonder the same thing; what I the hell kind o fa doctor gives a child the most powerful pain med on the planet? Was the 17 year old in the final stages of cancer? No, He broke his arm. Yeah it hurts, but so do a lot of other things, You cast it and you wait til it heals. So it was grossly stupid from the beginning. were the parents informed? He was a minor. NONE of this makes any sense.

  40. Stop blaming the doctors unless you don’t want any pain relief after surgery or broken bones, or tooth pain. Once you don’t need pain relief, you should stop. To do otherwise is your choice and you subsequently choose the consequences. Blame the addict.

  41. I would like to share a message with all of you sinners of sinners, all of you thinking no one loves you and no one cares, YOU ARE WRONG!!!! JESUS LOVES YOU VERY MUCH, he sees your struggles, he bares your pain. Turn to him and ask him to carry your burdens. Pray to him he hears you 💕🙏 much love and Many blessings from Jesus I pray Amen

  42. I am so sorry for your losses I cannot imagine what you have gone or are going through. I wish this on NO parent, partner, wife, husband, mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents on no one….. The creators of this poison will be duly judged…. blessing to all who have lost loved ones or are going through this.

  43. The modern world is so dysfunctional, many people feel empty and unhappy so they are more likely to get addicted to drugs. From the outside, these are all loving, wealthy families; but modern parents are so busy working to provide for their children that they don't give them enough of their time, which is vital. This is one of the main problems; on top of this, ruthless and psychopathic drug companies lied and said that their newer opiates were not addictive, and doctors over-proscribed. The support to help addicts is completely insufficient.

  44. he didn't have no disease he was a F***ing BUM, A Crack head, a fiend, A Thief! Quit sugar coating the truth. And quit lying to the kids to cover it up! LIars!

  45. Nowwww that it’s effecting the Upper White Class ppl NOW it’s an issue and they want to do something about it🤦🏽‍♀️😳🤯

  46. Anyone else watching this, wanting to reach rock bottom of your soul, sadness levels??
    As I realize I'm wiping a tear off my cheek, I'm like, what the fuck am I watching and why?!!
    Opioid epidemic man….real deal

  47. Massive beat up opioids are needed, feel sorry for America. We are the biggest provider here of opium. What do you do for pain then?. Maybe stop blaming doctors, pharmaceuticals

  48. I was planning to re locate to the Carolinas when I got home from the war. I thought it would be a wonderful place to raise a family. Events in my life prevented such a move. Half a century later they have a worst drug problem than we do here out West. I have seen too many guys get hooked on heroin when in Vietnam. We are the most drugged out nation found nowhere else on Earth.

  49. I was once hooked on 80mg Oxycontin for years. My last attempt of kicking it was quite easy to get off them. My Doctor prescribed me "Suboxone" it takes all the withdrawal away and will make you sick if you take opioids at the same time. Took 3 weeks kick my Oxy addiction, no problems, easy. I don't know why other Doctors wont or are afraid to prescribe Suboxone. Worked for me. I had unsuccessfully tried to get off opioids multiple times prior to taking Suboxone, so I know what its like.

  50. One thing for sure as Americans, we're (y'all) are ride-or-die when it comes to drugs! This is going to go on for a long time and guess what, there's not much that can be done to slow it down! THE TRUE FACE OF CARING AND COMPASSION WAS SHOWN BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHEN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, CONGRESS, AND IT'S LEADERS GROSSLY CRIMINALIZED, PENALIZED, AND IMPRISONED THOSE (blk/brn) EFFECTED DURING THE CRACK EPIDEMIC! If you think about it, it sorta seems like karma! AMERICA'S NAME SHOULD BE HYPOCRISY….

  51. REFORMERS UNANIMOUS you guys. Best "rehab" there is. It's not twelve steps. It's one step. Check it out. Has made a huge difference in my life. <3

  52. In 2016 40.200 people died in the traffic 65.000 died from overdoses mainly opiates which includes fentanyl, oxy, morphine, heroin, including other substances such as meth and cocaine.

  53. It’s not fair how the opioid crisis is manufactured by people who are still to this day profiting off the lives of young, middle age, and old Americans.

  54. Poor mothers and fathers they are all such good people it’s so sad to see them so sad. They shouldn’t let anyone have pain meds unless it’s serious serious means bones broken bad or sticking out ur skin a broken finger isn’t a emergency

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