Rural North Carolina Is Neglected When It Comes to Fentanyl Epidemic
Many drugs pass through counties on the highways of North Carolina, and rural drug users represent a large portion of the opioid epidemic. In the past 20 years, the state has lost over 28,000 people to drug overdoses. In the past several years, those overdoses were accelerated by fentanyl, now the deadliest drug in the country. It's so ubiquitous that it's in almost every large drug bust. Some people who overdose in North Carlina know that they're using fentanyl. However, a large percentage of them do not. Fentanyl is an additive in street drugs like cocaine, crystal meth, and Molly. People who use these drugs may feel the physical effects, but they don't necessarily know it's due to fentanyl.
Tackling The Fentanyl Crisis In North Carolina
North Carolina is trying its best to battle the opioid crisis, but the efforts have been slow to materialize. Some of the money from the opioid lawsuits was meant to help people access addiction recovery. However, some of the treatment centers that received funds centered more on faith-related treatment than the type of treatment backed by medical science.
The NC Department of Health and Human Services has now started several projects to help connect people with preventative healthcare, get help with opioid use disorder (OUD), and solve problems that addicted persons may share. For example, they have initiatives to distribute naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug.
Money is going into prevention, treatment, and other services. However, with a disproportionate number of resources, some NC residents in rural areas feel left behind. Fentanyl is becoming a huge problem across the US, as pivotal a cause as the drug Oxycontin during the beginning of the opioid crisis.
Opioid Settlement Money in Rural Areas Doesn't Measure Up
In a story about rural addiction and challenges, Pamlico County was recently featured on CNN. The country will get $773,000 over nearly two decades to fight the fentanyl and opioid epidemics. That amount of money can't even fund a new treatment center and will be limited in its reach. Wake County, a much larger strip of the population that includes Raleigh, will get $36 million during the same period. Raleigh has far fewer overdoses per 1,000 people than Pamlico.
Pamlico Co. is home to about 12,000 people, and one person has died of opioid doses per thousand people in the past few years. In 2021, over 200 people in Wake County died of drug overdoses, with 75% of those overdoses involving fentanyl and other opioids. There are over a million residents of Wake County, and they rank 87th for drug overdoses in the state.
Wake County has been given a sizable amount of money to provide vital resources for housing, job programs, interventions, treatment, mental health, and recovery. Pamlico County will use its smaller allotment to stock up on Narcan and support services already in place. County authorities hope the extra cash infusion will help prevent overdose deaths.
Telehealth Bridges Gaps for People Who Need Help With OUD
Telehealth came of age during the pandemic, and it's one of the few ways people living in rural North Carolina can access the help they need. Group counseling, private therapy, and other recovery tools are still active and available in North Carolina. In addition, our Medication-Assisted Treatment program has helped people reach out, get help, and feel less isolated in recovery.
If you or somebody you love is in North Carolina and needs help with opioid use disorder, we're here to walk you through the first steps. So call us to learn more about how we can help at 910-295-7246.
If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.