Border Belt Independent

Journalism serving the greater good of Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties

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The Border Belt Independent, founded in April, is an online, nonprofit newsroom that publishes in-depth and investigative stories in Bladen, Columbus, Robeson and Scotland counties. The newsletter will come to your inbox once a week and give you an overview of what’s going on in the region, along with some context. Feel free to reach out to Publisher Les High at leshigh@borderbelt.org or Editor Sarah Nagem at sarahnagem@borderbelt.org for questions or feedback. You can also find us on
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December 16, 2021

A worsening opioid epidemic

Darren Mills, who co-leads Celebrate Recovery at Western Prong Baptist Church, says faith-based addiction treatment programs fill a large need in the county.

Drug use is Columbus County residents’ biggest health concern, according to a 2019 health assessment from Columbus Regional Healthcare System. And it’s only gotten worse since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. More people are trying drugs to escape their pain, there are more arrests, more locals are overdosing and more communities are left with gaping holes from the lives lost to addiction. Read the story here.

In other news …

The Laurinburg Exchange looked at five unsolved homicides in a six-block radius in the Scotland County town. Investigators are asking anyone with information to come forward. Read the story here.

More than 1,000 students graduated from UNC Pembroke last week – including a 57-year-old grandmother who finished her degree after years of dealing with addiction, The Robesonian reports. Read the story here.

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