Father of Addict Calls for Opioid Addiction Prevention, Treatment

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The opioid epidemic is not slowing down in eastern Carolina and now several agencies are coming together to find out how to stop it.

9 On Your Side talked with the father of an addict to find out what he think needs to change to potentially save lives.

“it was a long, long battle trying to save our son from the struggles of substance abuse,” said Chris Jenkins, Hope Restorations. “We had some successes and we had some failures.”

Jenkins lost his son after he battled an addiction to prescription medications.

“We spent a lot of time in emergency rooms and he would overdose and then we would be in the emergency room trying to find somewhere to send him to get some meaningful counseling or rehabilitation,” he explained, telling his story at a collaborative drug conference on Monday to dozens of people trying to end the opioid epidemic. “We ran into some good resources and we ran into some walls.”

Those walls are commonplace for many.

Jenkins said one of the biggest problems in North Carolina is not having enough resources for those who need them.

“We definitely need to get more services available and get education out to the community about what is available for treatment options,” explained Nikki Lewis, Program Supervisor, Port Human Services, who works with those battling drug addiction. She said things need to change.

According to the state Division of Public Health, a thousand people die each year in North Carolina from a prescription drug overdose.

One of the main issues is not enough resources are available for treatment and prevention.

“The one thing that would really be helpful is if there were enough people who knew about the system who could plug people with what they need into where the resources are,” said Jenkins, who’s now using his story to help others in similar situations.

Through Hope Restorations, he provides support to others recovering from addictions.

Port Human Services is working on getting more resources out into the community for those struggling with drug addiction. To find a location near you, click here.

To watch video and for complete coverage, click here.