Fentanyl in North Carolina Caused 22% Increase in Overdose Deaths in 2021
North Carolina statistics show a 22% increase in overdose deaths, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. The fentanyl epidemic has been a significant factor for public health in North Carolina, becoming the top cause of overdose deaths. In fact, over 77% of overdose deaths in the state likely involved fentanyl. Often, these overdoses were combined with other drugs. Many people who overdose on fentanyl didn’t realize their drugs were laced with it.
The Fentanyl Epidemic in North Carolina
The fentanyl epidemic has been a significant public health challenge in North Carolina, as in many other states in the U.S. Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid responsible for many opioid overdose deaths.
North Carolina has experienced a significant increase in opioid overdose deaths, even as Oxycontin addiction began to wane and pharmaceutical companies started to be held responsible for their roles in the opioid epidemic. In addition, many people use fentanyl recreationally, having once used other opioids.
Today, the majority of overdoses in the ER and morgue involve fentanyl. This has led to a heightened public health response, with state and local authorities working to address the fentanyl epidemic and prevent further harm to individuals and communities. Armed with better knowledge of opioid addiction, communities are now using a multi-pronged approach to address addiction.
Addressing The Fentanyl Crisis in North Carolina
NCDHHS says that in response to the fentanyl crisis, the state continues expanding access to treatment and prevention.
Efforts to address the fentanyl epidemic in North Carolina have included increased access to naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. The state has distributed more than 719,000 units of naloxone to agencies across the state. Health departments are also working on increased education and awareness about the dangers of fentanyl and the importance of seeking help for opioid addiction.
Increasing access to treatment and recovery remains a challenge. However, recent regulations have been updated to allow mobile medication units can provide methadone and other FDA-approved Medication-Assisted Treatment. Different new ways to provide MAT, such as online substance abuse treatment like ours, are also being supported. In addition, EMS agencies in eight counties will now participate in a program offering buprenorphine as a medication to treat people with opioid use disorder.
Fentanyl Crisis: Looking To the Future in North Carolina
The fentanyl epidemic in North Carolina remains a significant challenge. Continued action is needed to address the root causes of opioid addiction and prevent further harm to individuals and communities.
This includes expanding access to evidence-based addiction treatment and medication-assisted treatment and addressing the underlying social determinants of health contributing to opioid addiction, such as poverty and trauma.
As the years have passed, more Black and marginalized communities are experiencing higher overdose rates. More government and lawsuit funds can help addiction treatment providers tackle more disparities as the addiction science community continues to develop new science-based tools to aid recovery.
Getting Help for Opioid Addiction In North Carolina
If you or somebody you love lives with opioid use disorder, help is available! We have helped people across the state get sober and begin a path to healing and recovery. Learn more about your options by giving us a call at 910-295-7246.
If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.