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Understanding North Carolina’s Opioid Epidemic During The Pandemic
New, starker numbers came out this week describing the depth of North Carolina’s opioid epidemic during 2020. On average, nine people a day died from addiction in North Carolina. The opioid left about 3,304 people dead, and nearly 15,000 people in the emergency department got treatment for drug-related issues such as an overdose or dangerous drug side effects. North Carolina’s opioid epidemic deaths increased 40%, with far more casualties than anyone predicted.
COVID Brought Isolation and Loss of Resources
The opioid epidemic was indeed fed by the isolation, financial difficulties, and other burdens families and individuals suffered due to shutdowns. Many people lost their jobs or benefits. Some people faced loneliness and despair, spending more time using substances. Many treatment centers across the country faced difficulties; some people were even sent home to their own devices.
Many people who had been sober for a while also had trouble coping when meetings shut down. While many people learned to transition to Zoom and other technologies like telephone conference meetings, others struggled with the lack of in-person contact.
Many newly sober people and people who had been sober long-term also fell into relapse. In addition, because the supply chain of drugs was unreliable, many drugs passed off as opioids also contained fentanyl, a drug at least 50 to 100 times as strong as morphine.
Preliminary data for 2021 showed the trend of high overdose rates has continued into 2020.
How North Carolina Is Battling The Opioid Addiction Epidemic Today
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has been working to implement the North Carolina Opioid and Substance Use Action Plan, a broad, statewide effort working to prevent addiction, reduce harm, and help people who struggle with substance use disorder get the help they need to recover. They also help residents find more stable environments through housing and employment support.
NCDHHS also provides organizations with funding for overdose prevention for naloxone and fentanyl testing. Monies also go to harm reduction and treatment services for community organizations. They also will be providing extra training for individuals in the treatment and medical industries.
Getting Help for Opioid Use Disorder
Many people who live with opioid use disorder want help, but aren’t sure where to turn for help. Medication-Assisted Treatment is considered the gold standard of care for people with opioid use disorder. We offer treatment options to people across North Carolina. Please get in touch at 910-295-7246 for more information about how we can help.
If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.