By Charlotte Smith
The Bladen County Register of Deeds, Beverly Parks, maintains reports on properties purchased, marriage records, births, and deaths. BladenOnline requested the Causes of Deaths reports from the register’s office. The staggering facts of these records should be sobering.
In 2020 there were fifteen (15) recorded Overdose Deaths in the county, and as of July 20, 2021, there were seven (7) local Overdose Deaths. The total of substance misuse deaths over the past year and a half is 22 – which means there are 22 citizens gone due to the effects of drugs.
There are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, and friends in mourning due to the effects of substance misuse. The citizens are concerned and want changes.
“Opioids is an equal opportunity killer,” William Sellers with Eastpointe stated.
Eastpointe provides Substance Abuse services in Bladen County. Anyone needing care may call the Eastpointe number, 1-800-913-6109.
For someone sick with drug addiction, the root cause could be mental compulsion, physical dependence, or both. They could have been prescribed addictive medication(s) by a licensed doctor, or they could have purchased it to medicate themselves. Some people use alcohol, prescribed medication, or illegal substances to cope when situations and issues become out of control. Abuse can happen before anyone realizes it when someone is depressed, stressed, or dealing with health issues.
Patients suffering from the side effects of substance misuse turn up at the hospitals lifeless or with addictions so severe they need in-patient treatment. Hospital staff members have the duty of explaining the causes of death to family members or are tasked with finding treatment facilities for the addicted.
The Bladen County Substance Misuse Task Force reports that, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, substance misuse and overdoses have increased. This July, there was a 50% increase in Bladen County EMS administering Naloxone, a drug used to reverse the effects of a drug overdose, compared to July 2020. According to David Howell, EMS Director, every month in 2021 shows a significant increase in drug administration to prevent overdoses over the 2020 data.
The task force is asking for opportunities to share with churches, schools, and civic groups about substance misuse updates. To schedule a date and time for Bladen County Substance Misuse Task Force to share information with a group, contact Dr. Cathy Gantz at 910-872-6256.
The Bladen County Sheriff’s Office has ongoing investigations involving overprescribing doctors and street drug dealers.
If an addict wants treatment or a community member wants to report suspected drug abuse, they can reach out to Sgt. Clark at the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office by calling 910-862-6960 or call Dr. Gantz with the task force at 910-872-6256.
Today is International Overdose Awareness Day. The day helps communities acknowledge the harm and hardship caused by drug overdose, the purpose of remembering those loved ones lost to overdose, and the importance of ending the stigma of drug-related deaths.
As we recall the 22 Bladen County lives lost due to substance misuse, may it spark a new passion for helping those suffering from drug addiction. Use the hashtags #endoverdose and #overdoseawareness to raise more awareness on your social media platforms.
The Bladen County Register of Deeds provided Bladen Online with information regarding the number of deaths and their cause for 2020 and 2021 so far.
Not determined: 3
Total number of deaths: 320
2021 (as of 7/20/21):
Not determined: 0
Total number of deaths: 154
*Note: These are only the deaths that actually occurred in Bladen County. For instance, if someone was a resident of Bladen County but was transferred/admitted to a facility outside of the county, and that is where they expired, the death certificate will only be filed in the county of death and not the county of residency. There were two births in Bladen County in the year 2020 and only one so far in 2021. This is due to the hospital no longer having a birthing center. It was closed and never reopened after damage from the hurricane.