Wilmington business sees several overdose and drug related incidents

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– Recently, there’s been an uptick in drug overdoses in the City of Wilmington.  

“From what I see where I work, it’s not good. It’s not good,” said Rona Barnes, Employee of the Family Fare convenience store on Market Street in Wilmington.  

The Family Fare on Market Street has seen effects of the drug epidemic first hand.   

In the last six months, eight drug and overdose-related incident reports have been filed with the Wilmington Police Department at the location, with one overdose death.   

“I had a person come to the register looking kind of weird, and I’m trying to wake them up. Then I see their eyes literally roll back until I see nothing but the white, then they pass out. Bam. What do you do? I’m not a paramedic. We have to have Narcan to bring them back, because this man literally passed out. Went and had something in the bathroom, then somebody comes in saying ‘hey there’s someone laying in your bathroom floor!’,” said Barnes.  

Coastal Horizons of Wilmington, a non-profit rehab facility, says they have seen a significant increase in clients recently. 

“We have seen an influx of numbers. We have typically been seeing 12-14 overdose survivors and engaging them to treatment every month, but over the last few months we’ve seen numbers in the 20s. In December, we connected 28 overdose survivors to treatment, so our numbers have doubled,” said Buffy Taylor, Outpatient Therapist with Coastal Horizons. 

Treatment experts say the Adult Probation and Parole Office being within walking distance of the Family Fare is one of the main reasons the store sees a high number of drug-related incidents. 

“We’re in a place of business and we are saving these people. It’s not our job to babysit and watch people and see what they are doing. If it’s real busy I can’t see people going into the bathroom. So many times, we’ve had to save people,” said Barnes.  

Barnes says her main frustration is with the reoccurrence of the events, as the victims are taken to the hospital and not to jail.

“They don’t get in trouble. If we have to get the Narcan and bring them back, they’re not in trouble. They get saved, then just walk out to go do it again. We’re saving these people with no consequences to them. It’s just like ‘okay, we brought you back to life, go out the door and I’ll see you the next time you do it. We have another one (Narcan) waiting for you!’,” said Barnes.

Coastal Horizons hosts Narcan overdose reversal trainings at the Harrelson Center once a month.  

The next training will be on February 10th. 

If you or someone you know needs help with overdose related incidents, you can contact Coastal Horizons at 910-833-2052.  

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