Originally in The Charlotte Weekly

August 31, 2019

Attorney General Josh Stein launched the More Powerful NC Memorial to honor North Carolinians who lost their lives to addiction or overdose, in advance of International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31. 

The memorial, which can be viewed at www.morepowerfulnc.org/about/memorial/, serves as a remembrance of lives lost. People may also share their loved ones’ stories.  

Stein said the opioid epidemic takes the lives of five people a day on average. 

“On this Overdose Awareness Day, we must honor these North Carolinians by recommitting ourselves to confronting this crisis in our communities and eradicating the stigma around addiction. And we must help those who are struggling with addiction, because there is hope in recovery.”

Randy Abbott’s daughter, Vanessa, died of an overdose in 2015. Her story can be found in the memorial. 

“If we are going to bring an end to this epidemic that is stealing a generation, we have to start by ending the stigma that unfortunately still exists,” Abbott said. “We have to understand and help others understand that these disorders know no economic, social or racial boundaries. What better way to honor our loved ones than using the power of their stories, of our families’ stories, as we work toward the goal of ending an epidemic and saving lives.”

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Aug. 29 that for the first time in five years, the number of unintentional opioid-related overdose deaths among North Carolina residents has decreased. 

Stein is encouraged by the news that opioid-related overdose deaths are falling. 

“North Carolinians across the state have been relentless in fighting this epidemic – through community responses, through laws including the STOP Act and the HOPE Act, through the state’s Opioid Action Plan,” Stein said. “We’re making progress and saving lives, and I’m committed to continuing to doing my part alongside all of you to confront this crisis.”