'Wake Up Carolina' event hopes to raise awareness of heroin epid - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

'Wake Up Carolina' event hopes to raise awareness of heroin epidemic in North Myrtle Beach

A small group met Thursday night to discuss how to end the heroin epidemic. (Source: Patrick Lloyd) A small group met Thursday night to discuss how to end the heroin epidemic. (Source: Patrick Lloyd)

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A small group of people gathered at First Baptist Church in North Myrtle Beach Thursday evening to discuss how to help stop the heroin epidemic.

The group consisted primarily of people who know someone who has been affected by heroin addiction.

Patrick Apel with the Drug Enforcement Agency led the event. He says he hopes the meeting will be the first step in bringing awareness to the problem.

“Tonight is really the first step," Apel said. "It’s a step for us to tell the community to wake up.”

One of the attendees has a son who is a heroin addict.

“Before he became involved with heroin, he was an honor student, an athlete," Mylissa Bellamy said. "Somebody that everybody enjoyed being around that parents welcomed into their home. A funny, lively human being, and heroin has stolen that away.”

Juan Johnson also attended the meeting. She felt the need to do something because she knows how heroin can affect people.

“About a year ago, a friend of mine found her son dead in her yard," Johnson said. "Said there was no heroin in his system. We found out it was fentanyl. But at his funeral, I talked to our pastor and decided we needed a community awareness because I am raising a grandchild because of heroin addiction.”

Going forward, the group hopes to bring attention to the problem in schools so kids can be aware of the dangers of heroin at an early age.

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