GREENSBORO, N.C. — He works to save lives and his passion comes from his own experience.
"Being a person who uses drugs and being revived by naloxone, having the opportunity to get well," it's about treating and overcoming addiction, said Chase Holleman.
He's the organizer for Guilford County Solution to the Opioid Problem. "Since we started we've connected over 200 people to treatment. Meaning we know we got them through the doors," said Holleman.
Holleman is one of many who likely helped bring down the statewide overdose deaths. It's a goal North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper says has been made for the first time in five years. "We're seeing a reduction in the number of pills prescribed. We're seeing a reduction in the number of emergency department visits and now we're seeing a reduction in deaths," said North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.
However, he says more work still needs to be done. "This is devastating. It's devastating individuals, families, communities and we've got to do everything we can to turn the tides so people can enjoy their lives to the fullest," said Stein. He says this progress shows the hard work of all the groups and treatment facilities, acknowledging it takes a village.
"Embrace people who are in recovery and trying to get a second start on life by making sure they have jobs and housing and other opportunities," said Stein.
The decline statewide doesn't mirror every city in the state. In Greensboro, police say they've responded to 63 overdose deaths so far this year. That's the same number of deaths in all of last year. For that reason, Chase's work will continue until that number is zero.
"There's so much more we could be doing, and that no one should be dying from opioid related toxicity," said Holleman.
GCSTOP offers help for those in need. You can text or call 336-505-8122 and you should receive a response within 24 hours.