GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s a story we’ve been covering closely in eastern North Carolina, as the heroin epidemic continues to spread.

Here is the east… Opioids have had a significant impact in Onslow County.

Locally, at least eight people have died from drug overdoses in Onslow County alone this year.

Now, the community and law enforcement say they’re fed up with the epidemic plaguing their county.

Back in April, 21-year-old Matthew Eyster and 21-year-old Jason Sapp died from overdoses within 24 hours of each other.

Now, their mothers have decided to take a stand and let drug dealers know their actions won’t be tolerated by starting their own program called Sneads Ferry H.O.P.E. to help those fighting drug addiction.

“The community stepped up; they were tired of people getting away with the dealing. You can’t just blame the addicts, dealers are responsible as well,” said Cindy Patane and Vanessa Sapp, the mothers of the two boys.

With their help, the support of the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office and Crime Stoppers, more than 200 tips were reported.

“We heard what the community said, the community said do something about it. We said yes we will,” said Sheriff Hans Miller.

In North Carolina, if someone distributes unlawful substances and the user dies from that drug, the dealer can be charged with second degree murder.

That’s the case for Jason Michael Eddington who was charged with the death of Jason Sapp.

It’ll be the first case of its kind to be tried in Onslow County.

Tonight at 6 on 9 On Your Side, WNCT’s Jacqueline Matter will sit down with the mothers of both Matthew Eyster and Jason Sapp as they tell their story of turning tragedy into triumph.