According to the North Carolina Governor’s office, North Carolina experienced a 73 percent spike in opioid-related deaths between 2005 and 2015. Opioid overdose also claimed the lives of more than 13,000 North Carolinians between 1999 and 2015, and four North Carolina cities rank among the nation’s worst for opioid abuse. New Hanover and Pender counties experienced some of the highest increases in opioid deaths.
Earlier this year, High Point saw three car crashes in one week that were all due to drivers using opioids. In one crash, reported Fox 8, police found two adults passed out in the front seat of the car and two children, fortunately uninjured, in the back seat. In two other crashes, separated by just a few hours, two people were seriously injured and taken to hospital. A child was in the second crash when the car veered off the road.
According to Fox 8, High Point is currently seeing a huge increase in heroin overdoses— a 148% increase in overdoses in 2016 alone. High Point Police Captain Michael Kirk said the types of drugs people are using are also much more dangerous: “We’ve seen a tremendous increase in the potency level,” he said. Kirk’s department has investigated several cases where heroin was involved in a serious car accident.
NC Gov. Roy Cooper has joined leaders across the country to combat the opioid crisis. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recently received a grant of more than $31 million through the 21st Century Cures Act, State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants. The money will be used to increase access to prevention, treatment and recovery supports.
“The opioid crisis is one of the biggest challenges we face across our state,” Gov. Cooper said. “This grant will help further our commitment to fight this epidemic that is destroying families and lives across our state. This is a problem we must solve for the safety and wellbeing of our citizens. Our families, friends and neighbors need our help.”
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