Otway, N.C.

May 1, 2021


On December 17, 2020 I found my beloved younger brother, Frank Pane, dead in his car, not even a block away behind the hospital. The toxicity report stated that he died from toxic levels of fentanyl.

We suspect that he actually died on the 15th, which means that for two days he was left in the passenger seat of his car, like he was nothing. Like he was nobody's son, brother, boyfriend, or friend. He was all of these things and more. And someone just abandoned him.

Frank was a one of a kind person, with a unique sense of humor that was all his own. He loved animals, cooking out, and shooting his guns. He worked with me for 15 years, 5 days a week. Then he was just...gone. No goodbyes. No final 'I love you'. The 9 mile drive to work every morning is now the longest, loneliest ride I could have imagined. Not a single day has gone by that I haven't cried, and the same can be said for my heartbroken mom. I relive finding him every day, over and over. I have nightmares.

I have no delusions about the fact that no one made him take the path he chose, or any idea why he chose it. I do know that he wanted off of it, but the pull of drugs was too strong for him. I know police view him as just another junkie, as I'm sure some of you will. I ask you to be careful with your judgement; there are a lot of 'I never thought in a million years that my kid would touch that stuff' parents' out there. We all make bad choices and not all of us recover from them.

I have so much I want to say about my brother, but there's not enough room in this paper for it. What I want is some kind of justice for him, the ones before him and the ones after him. It seems like almost daily someone overdoses on Carteret County. There is simply NO way that there are no leads on the dealers, or a reason why when one is caught that they are right back on the streets selling their products. The position that arresting the dealers won't help the addicts is pure BS. At the very least it gives the streets one less dealer to hook someone new on their poisons.

For two months I left the police alone because I kept hearing that they can't do anything until the toxicity report comes back. Now that it's back they won't return my calls. I have zero respect for someone who can't at least tell me they still have no leads. My one small hope is that they are building a case against the individual(s) responsible. But the realist in me doubts that is the case and that in the end my family will have to live with so many unanswered questions. I, and the police, know who Frank was getting his drugs from right up to the time of his death. In my heart I know his friend knows more than he is telling us. As far as the dealer goes? I pray that Lord, justice will be seen in this paper one day, and I hope it's in the obituary section.

For anyone who has a loved one involved with drugs, I wish you the best. It's an uphill, emotionally draining battle to say the least. Be strong, and be kind because if you lose them, it's the times you lost your temper that haunts you the most.

To the rest of you, if you can't help them, you can at least have the decency to not laugh at them and treat them like the flawed, loved human beings that we all are.


(11) comments


I am sorry to see a drug related death in our community. Fentanyl is being used by illegal drug dealers/manufacturers to increase the "high" at a cheaper cost for an unregulated market. Marijuana is often referred to as the gateway drug, and currently is the most common illegal substance. However most people use regulated psychoactive substances prior to marijuana such as caffeine, nicotine or alcohol.

I believe that, for my family members who have died from heroin, they would not have tried heroin if marijuana had been available in a regulated market. That is why I support HB 617-Cannabis Legalization and Regulation.

Good people, like Frank, too often fall into the "wrong" circles, where powerful illegal drugs are prevalent. No one has ever overdosed on marijuana, but often it's illegal purchase leads to access of detrimental, highly addictive psychoactive drugs that should remain illegal. Those participating in the sale and possession of those substances should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


YOU KNOW VERY WELL THIS POLICY WORKS. CANADIAN national Chui Wai Hung was sentenced to death yesterday after he was found guilty of manufacturing drugs, said the Intermediate People’s Court of Guangzhou in Guangdong Province.

All of his personal assets will also be confiscated, according to the first-instance judgment issued by the court.

Another defendant in the case, Chinese national Wen Guanxiong, was also convicted. Wen was given a life sentence, deprived of his political rights for life, and had all of his personal assets confiscated.

The brief court statement gave no details but local media said Chui had bought raw materials and tools for drug production in October 2016 and worked with Wen to make ketamine. The drugs were made in Wen’s home and stored in Chui’s residence in Guangzhou’s Haizhu district, with public security officers seizing over 120 kilograms of ketamine from the pair.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said there was no connection between Chui’s sentencing and current China-Canada relations.

“I would like to stress that China’s judicial authorities handle the relevant case independently in strict accordance with Chinese law and legal procedures,” Wang said. “This case should not inflict any impact on China-Canada relations.”

“Death sentences for drug-related crimes that are extremely dangerous will help deter and prevent such crimes,” Wang said. “China’s judicial authorities handle cases involving criminals of different nationalities in accordance with law.”


As callous as this may sound to most, at some point in time folks need to take responsibility for their own actions and not blame law enforcement, drug dealers, friends, etc. Its demand followed by supply mostly.

I too have lost family and friends to drugs and alcohol and each one knew of the possible consequences.


I agree, and I suspect most would too, that we are responsible for our own actions. That' s why I noted that no one made my brother choose the path he took. But this by no means absolves the dealers of their guilt. As far as the chicken or egg aspect of this, that's for each individual to decide on I guess. Can't have drug dealers without buyers, can't have buyers without dealers. I lean towards the latter because I feel the buyers are miserable and the dealers live off of that misery.

I also have the highest regard for law enforcement, they have a tough job. My issue lies with being ignored. No leads? Say so. That's not a lot to ask.

Getting the dealers off the street and keeping them off would go a long way in keeping others from making a mistake they can't come back from.


In case anyone does not know, carteret county is awash in hard drugs, opiates, meth,crack, and the high schoolers fave Xanax . The police do what is expected, operation the " latest batch "of fodder for the prisons. Dea estimates are less then 2% of illegal drugs are stopped. 98% flow right in. The criminal justice get tough or just say no response has not worked, can not work, and never will work. Alcohol prohibition should have shown us that. But folks love a get tough law and order speech.

Reality is its a health problem, perhaps it's time to treat it like one?

You can buy any hard drug within 10 mins of your house, any where in the county. try to find a rehab bed esp with no insurance to pay for it. Does that make any sense?

I am very sorry for your loss.


I too have had severe addiction and death in the family.

I guess the question I have (not judging) is which person over the age of 16 hasn’t heard of heroin, oxy, cocaine, meth...etc etc... and the destructive characteristics of these substances? Throw in nicotine and alcohol also.

These things are not a new flavor of ice cream you’re trying for the first time.

All that stuff will grab you and not let go... no mystery. I have zero answers on how to educate folks on how not to mess with it in the first place BUT we all have free will. Unless you’re tied down and forced to ingest these toxic substances than the addict has to own they’re decisions and deal with the consequences... rather, their loved ones and society has to deal with the consequences.


The lack of resources in this area, is heartbreaking. I have seen straws and syringes in parking lots, empty baggies in a convenient store restrooms- Our county is in a crisis and if something isn't done soon, it is going to destroy our area. Our county is OVERRUN with this poison and it is easier to Heroin or Fentanyl, then it is to get a cigarette, from someone. The stigma of addiction HAS GOT to end- These are our children, our siblings, our friends. On career day in Kindergarten, they didn't tell the class they wanted to be addicted to Heroin or Drugs, when they grew up. If the number of (documented) overdoses and deaths that occurred, were reported and published weekly like the Covid numbers are, people could see the devastation it is having here in little Carteret County.




I am very sorry for your loss Jimmy. I worked in fire and EMS many years and saw a variety of ages and both sexes succumb to the lethal drugs. We are never gonna stop the REAL PANDEMIC of drugs in the country untisl.we make the penalties of the drug dealers very serious. I say if they sale the drugs and the person dies the dealer gets life in prison. Now some people are gonna say"They knew what they were doing when the took that junk!" Well, heres the deal ; #1 If the junk wasn't out there in the first place less people would died.

#2The criminals (dealer) are mixing up some really bad batches and they know what they are doing. They sell it and the are guilty of murder just like people who kill with poisoning drinks or food. So take everyone of these dealers and put them in prison for life or on death row. This will take care of a lot if drug problems in the long run


Ever harsher punishments, the " law and order" response is not going to have much if any effect. We already have murder charges for dealers who's customers die.

There is no shortage of dealers, or customers. The ones who go to prison are replaced by new ones before the jail processing is complete. Treat it as a medical issue and a lot of the property crime and overdose deaths, and billions to drug cartels would disappear overnight.

The war on drugs has been a failure since Nixon coined the phrase. Time for a new approach.


Not arguing... but treating like a medical condition as in what...rehab? I’m pretty sure the statistics don’t bear out...unless you can lock a person down for months/years like the rich folks do to theirselves (to get clean). Us poor folks call that prison. I believe the recidivism rate is extremely high after rehab ...not sure but way more than half end up using again. Like I said in an earlier post extreme addiction, loss of everything, prison, misery for everyone around you...death... no surprises.


Rehab for folks who want it, prescription drugs for addicts. I know that idea will raise howls of protest. If you are taking drugs you should be doing it under a Dr's supervision. The overall number of addicts will slowly decline, as have smokers. And all the ills of illicit drug trade will fade as well.

Welcome to the discussion.

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