What you need to know about Fentanyl

“We’ve got to do something now. We’ve seen too many overdoses and too many deaths.”  

–Anissa McNair, Ship Outreach

SouthLight has teamed up with Ship Community Outreach to host a series of community discussions on fentanyl, a major player in the drug overdose epidemic. In recent weeks, Ship Outreach tragically lost four of their community members to fentanyl overdose. They asked for help and decided this topic was too important not to include community leaders, social service agencies, nonprofit partners, and faith communities.

The discussions covered the basic facts about fentanyl use, how to respond to an opioid overdose, and how to support someone after overdosing. We also answered questions on the “laced and lethal” drugs infiltrating fentanyl.

Fentanyl is here to stay, and we need to talk about it. More than 50 community agencies and partners gathered at Chavis Park on May 16 to talk about it and ask questions during a panel discussion on fentanyl with SouthLight Healthcare, Ship Outreach and the Raleigh Police Department ACORNS unit.

SouthLight’s CEO Adam Hartzell moderated the discussion, fielding questions ranging from recognizing an overdose to administering Narcan to understanding “tranq” or xylazine. He wrapped up by asking each panelist to share one key message. Here’s what they had to say:

Jeremy Pierson, ACORNS: If you’re worried about someone’s safety, call 911.

Madeline Horner, ACORNS: If you have a loved one and they are consistently overdosing, there is a mental health component and you should consider intervention with an involuntary commitment.

Ben Powell, SouthLight: Despite the stigma of treatment, it is highly effective. If you have someone who is struggling, get them in for an assessment.

Kellie Ross, SouthLight: Take Narcan with you everywhere. Be a good member of our community and make sure you have Narcan. You may save somebody’s life.

Dr. Letitia Hazel, SouthLight: If you see someone struggling, understand that the drug has taken over. It’s not simply having a stronger will or telling them to “try harder.” Be patient and kind.

Thank you to the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition for sharing resources, and a special thanks to our friends and partners Anissa and Pastor Chris at Ship Outreach. We’re here for you!


Fentanyl: A Major Player in the Drug Overdose Epidemic

“One thing I think that people need to understand about fentanyl is probably about 60 percent of the people that are testing positive don’t actually know that they’re taking fentanyl. And that’s truly frightening.” As the second largest opioid treatment clinic in North Carolina, SouthLight is seeing the direct impact of synthetic fentanyl. Our Opioid Treatment Program director, Kellie Ross, tells it like it is in this brief video.