RALEIGH, N.C. — Courtni Wright helps bring people back to life.
Wright is a peer support specialist for the Wake County nonprofit Healing Transitions, offering resources to people who experienced an opioid overdose.
What You Need to Know
Courtni Wright has teamed up with the Scotland Health Department
She hopes to continue to working with the county until they get their own peer support team
A peer support team is a group of people who are from the community and know the community to distribute resources
Every week, Wright and her team knock on doors and call hundreds of people by phone.
"Maybe three months down the road after I've reached out to them numerous times, they say, 'You know what Courtni, I could use the Narcan,'" Wright said.
Since June 2018, Wake County EMS has responded to over 2,300 overdoses. Wright says the longer the pandemic persists, the rate of overdoses goes up.
There was an 8% increase of overdoses from 2019 to 2020, and an 11% increase from last year to this year.
Wright says the kinds of overdoses are also changing to cocaine, crack cocaine and even marijuana. The drugs are laced with fentanyl, she said.
"A little drop of fentanyl can tranquilize a horse," she said.
With dozens of wellness checks a week, Wright knows saving everyone isn't an option.
"People pass away and, you know, and we move right on and have to work on the next," Wright said.
To get clean, you have to accept help — something Wright struggled with in her darkest days of battling addiction.
"I had to get high to feel normal. I had to get high to feel alive," she said.
Wright lost custody of her two kids. At one point, she was homeless and jobless.
"I was not only using substances, but using my body to get the substances. Leaving my kids in places they shouldn't be. I was losing my mind," Wright said.
Wright is now seven years sober.
She created a 'Gofundme' in March of this year, raising over $600. Wright uses the money to create bags filled with resources like Narcan, which is a nasal spray antidote that reverses an opioid overdose in an emergency.
With a coupon, Wright says it costs around $130 at your local pharmacy, a price many addicts can't afford.
"Scotland County actually has a 19% rate of overdose deaths," Wright said. "Whereas Wake County is only like 10 to 12%."
Today, Wright is driving around her old neighborhood to connect with people on a deeper level and to share her story.
"I really just want people to know that I am them. I am that person who is not at home with their child right now because she had to go and get high. I am that daughter who is having such a hard time with her mother and father because she just can't stop," she said.
There's no greater feeling than when a response of I'm good turns into I'm ready, she said.
"If I wouldn't have got a chance to live and change my life, I wouldn't be the person I am today. I wouldn't be able to make my family happy. I wouldn't be able to be the mother to my kids," Wright said. "Those are people. Those, they are people. They are lives, and they are worthy to live."
If you are a North Carolinian in need of drug addiction support or referral click here.