Local News

Fayetteville fights back: Radio stations host conversation on opioid crisis

Posted January 29, 2018 6:58 p.m. EST

— The ongoing opioid crisis caught the attention of a group of Fayetteville radio stations who are now fighting back.

On Tuesday, Beasley Media Group will stop the music across all of its Fayetteville stations –­ 95.7 WKML, Foxy 99.1, BOB 96.5, 107.7 Jamz and Sunny 94.3 ­– to present an uninterrupted commercial-free hour in prime drive time.

From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., listeners can join a panel of physicians, law enforcement officers, behavioral health and addiction specialists, and local and state leaders, including Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein. The goal is for the listener to learn the facts about opioids, how to use them properly, raise awareness of the dangers, learn the signs of addiction and where to get help if needed.

"We're going to take an hour, and we're going to go commercial-free, and we're going to talk about the opioid abuse here in North Carolina, but specifically Fayetteville," said Erika Beasley, the general manager of Beasley Media Group.

The Fayetteville area is 18th in the nation for opioid abuse.

In 2015, emergency responders in Cumberland County administered 458 doses of Narcan, the drug designed to reverse opioid overdose. In 2017, that number nearly doubled. Fayetteville police administered the drug 14 times in 2015, and last year they administered 66 doses.

"You can have respiratory distress, and you can have respiratory depression, and you can go into cardiac arrest," said Dr. Cheryl Colvin. "The numbers have crept up since 2015, and I think it's a 30 percent increase from last year ... but still the drug of choice is Fentanyl."

While the state has implemented new laws governing the distribution of opioids, abusers have turned to other methods to get the drugs.

"Well, the medicine on the street, Fentanyl, Morphine, is cheaper than pills, so they're getting it illegally," said Colvin.

So how can you recognize a family member who might be abusing opioids?

"If they are just taking them and then it's time to take them again and they become sort of dazed or insomnolent or abundant, that's a problem because then they're on their way to respiratory distress," Colvin said.

If a person is abusing any drug, there are some of the general signs to look for, per Mayo Clinic. Those include:

  • Difficulties at school, disinterest in school-related activities, and declining grades
  • Poor work performance, being chronically late to work, appearing tired and disinterested in work duties, and receiving poor performance reviews
  • Changes in physical appearance, such as wearing inappropriate or dirty clothing and a lack of interest in grooming
  • Altered behavior, such as an increased desire for privacy
  • Drastic changes in relationships
  • A noticeable lack of energy when performing daily activities
  • Spending more money than usual or requesting to borrow money
  • Issues with financial management, such as not paying bills on time
  • Changes in appetite, such as a decreased appetite and associated weight loss
  • Bloodshot eyes, poor skin tone, and appearing tired or run down
  • Defensiveness when asked about substance use

Listeners can join the conversation via Facebook Live on Cape Fear Valley’s Facebook page or any of the participating radio station’s Facebook pages.