Groups fighting the opioid epidemic in Wilmington host crowded event

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –┬áThe abuse of heroin and pain pills is front and center across the country and right here in Wilmington. Tonight key groups in the fight against this epidemic came together at Port City ┬áCommunity Church sharing stories of addiction and recovery.

We all saw the headlines last year showing that more people who received painkillers in Wilmington abuse them than anywhere else in the country this according to a health care study.

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“We see it on the streets everyday. People are dying you know. And what we’re trying to do is give people hope,” says Geoff Banks.

Hope is what brought Banks back from the brink. He’s with Port City Community Church and their active addiction recovery group “Refuge”.

It’s affecting the lives of people of all ages in the Cape Fear. That’s why hundreds came to Port City Community Church about ways to fight the opioid abuse epidemic.



“I was on heroin and kind of strung out essentially. They were able to pull me out and put in me I a place to find hope and to clean up,” says Banks.

Those in recovery like Banks were motivated to be a part of the event to be a part of a solution. For Wendy Mercer, she’s there for someone else.

“The reason I am plugged into it is because I am a mom who lost a son. He was 25,” says Mercer.

Her son Steven died overdosing on heroin. Her loss is why she wants to join the hundreds of people at the event to spread the word on treatment available in New Hanover County.

“I grew up in Wilmington, I never thought that Wilmington would be named the largest opioid epidemic city in the nation and I want to come alongside and I want to help and see what my part is,” Mercer says.

SEAHEC along with New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Port City Community church organized the event.