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Benefit concert celebrates Greensboro musician, brings awareness to opioid crisis

Scott Johnson died from an opioid overdose in Feb. Money raised from Sunday's concert went to GS STOP that works to prevent opioid deaths.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Drug overdoses have soared. There have been 30% more overdoses this year compared to last year, according to the National Center for Health.

The crisis is impacting families everywhere, including in Guilford County.

At LeBaur Park Sunday, the community held space for local musician Scott Johnson who overdosed in February.

Seth Barden, a friend of Johnson's, organized the ‘Scottfest’ benefit concert.

“We received tragic news our friend Scott Johnson passed of an opioid overdose. Scott is a musician,” Barden said. “All of his friends were devastated, so we decided to get an event together that would serve as a memorial for Scott and help out the opioid problem."

With the heartbeat of a drum, Johnson's friends and band buddies kept the strings of his soulful spirit alive.

We love you Scott!

Posted by Scott Fest on Wednesday, June 2, 2021

In celebration of the 29-year-old musician's life, five bands, all of which Johnson was a part of, put the skills he showed them on display Sunday.

“He's like a musical sponge. Even if he's subbing for a band he comes in, knows the music, and learns everything,” Barden said. “We were lucky to have Scott in our lives and play music and spread that joy while we could.”

People braved the heat, found a shaded place, and vibed to the sounds Johnson loved.

A Guilford County Solution to the Opioid Problem booth with resources and overdose lifesaving tools was set up to show the community there's help for those struggling with addiction.

Chase Holleman is GC STOP’s program director.

He said he’s survived a few overdoses and wants to help others transform their lives just like he did.

“Over the last 100 years, our response to drug use has been incarcerations and that has not served us well,” Holleman said. “We've seen families broken and torn apart. We've seen people die of overdose without help. They can reach out to us and we can connect people with treatment services."

The more than $10,000 raised at the benefit concert goes to GC Stop.

“We know it will be used for good as we continue to buy naloxone and give it to folks in our community directly impacted,” Holleman said. “Just last year, we had 1,032 reversals. That's 1,032 families in Guilford County that didn't have to bury a loved one."

If you or a loved one need help fighting addiction, call 336-505-8122. All of GC Stops services are free.