Area help for those struggling with substance abuse, as opioid crisis reaches new heights

Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 6:54 PM EDT
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CARTERET COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) -The amount of people dying from overdoses has hit another record high in the United States, according to data from the CDC.

Throughout a 12 month period ending October 2021, the vast majority of overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids.

As the crisis continues there are organizations in Eastern North Carolina aimed at helping people who struggle with substance abuse.

Hope is Alive is an organization in Carteret county brought to the area in 2019 with the help of One Harbor Church in Morehead City.

Hope is Alive now has two sober, living homes across the area.

Luke Armstrong runs the men’s sober living home in Otway. He leads by example after overcoming rock bottom.

“I started drinking and partying real heavily, it was like never land you know? Performing arts school, doing that having fun, that was where I was introduced to Cocaine,” said Armstrong.

He thought he left his battle with depression and anxiety at home when he went to college, but soon realized his internal struggle was with him everywhere he went.

“I majored in dance performance there, I had big dreams. I wanted to go to Broadway do that sort of stuff, make a name so I could go back and rescue my mom and my little sister.”

Through his long journey, he ended up behind bars. “I sat in county jail for six months, on 18-hour lock-up basically in a cell for 18 hours a day. I was facing 15 years.”

These days Armstrong makes his recovery journey alongside other men in Carteret County trying to overcome addictions.

“We walk with them for 18 months and we show them how to stay sober by following Jesus for those 18 months and stay away from those substances that ended up controlling their lives before,” said Hope is Alive Senior Community Outlook Coordinator, Eric Morris.

His guidance likely saved many lives from a grim fate. The CDC found in the 12 month period ending in October 2021, two-thirds of overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids, like fentanyl.

“What we have seen is people starting out with injuries and started out taking opioids by prescription and then ended up abusing them taking it to the streets, can’t get the actual pills on the streets and so they turn to heroin and ultimately fentanyl,” said Morris.

As for Armstrong’s future, he trusts in his faith and shares the message that changed his life with those who walk a similar path.

“There’s not this obsession anymore to go like drink or use like my life is so good. Why would I burn it to the ground again?” said Armstrong.

If you or someone you know struggles with substance abuse click here for help.

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