GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers held a town hall with several senior staffers Monday night to address concerns about the detention center, crime in the county and staffing concerns in the department.
Fentanyl took center stage, though.
“That was the day our whole world came crashing down … Since then, it’s been my mission to bring attention and awareness to fentanyl,” said Debbie Peeden, a grandmother who lost her granddaughter to fentanyl poisoning two years ago.
“So she’s forever 23,” Peeden said.
Peeden spoke to Rogers about her concerns regarding the drug. He detailed what the department is working to do to combat the opioid’s spread.
“We try to make sure we are very visible so people understand we want a hold on fentanyl and any type of narcotics in Guilford County, and we want to get as much off the streets as possible,” Rogers said.
Rogers said one of his deputy sergeants recently experienced fentanyl exposure and had to be administered Narcan, which is a nasal spray that counteracts opioid overdoses.
“It’s very scary, especially for myself as a sheriff for the men and women who work for the sheriff’s office who come in contact with the people,” Rogers said.
Every Guilford County deputy currently has Narcan as part of their standard gear. Rogers says he is concerned that Narcan could enable drug users.
Rogers said he hopes working with people like Peeden to spread the word about the consequences of fentanyl has a big impact.
“Our goal is to put the PSAs out, make sure we community police like we need to and make sure people know we are here for them. It’s sad that fentanyl has run rampant not just in Guilford County but in the state and the country,” Rogers said.
Peeden will do her part by showing Ashley’s face and telling her story as often as possible.
“I feel like she was written off as another dead addict, but she was more than that. She did struggle with substance abuse and willingly took cocaine, but it was laced with fentanyl,” Peeden said.
From 2020 to 23, more than 700 people have died from illicit drug use in Guilford County. Of those, 75 percent have been tied to fentanyl.