2021 Saw Record Number of NC Overdose Deaths
Friday, January 28, 2022
Advocates and faith groups are calling for more investments in harm reduction across the state, as new provisional data shows overdose deaths have increased statewide by 26%.
It is estimated more than 3,900 people lost their lives to drug overdoses last year.
Elizabeth Brewington, associate director for partners in health and wholeness overdose response at the North Carolina Council of Churches, said communities are feeling the impacts of devastating loss.
"These statistics represent a child of God, someone who is someone's child, loved one, family member," Brewington noted. "And so, people of faith are concerned about this because these are our communities, these are our neighbors, our family members."
According to the American Medical Association, the pandemic has led to spikes in overdoses across the country driven by illicit fentanyl, methamphetamine and cocaine. Overdoses related to prescription opioids and heroin remain high and also are increasingly contaminated with illicit fentanyl.
The state's counties and largest cities are slated to receive $750 million from a recent settlement with drug distributors Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen and opioid manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and Purdue Pharma.
Brewington added the settlement represents an opportunity for communities and local governments to put evidence-based services into practice.
"We know that distributing naloxone is associated with a 50% drop in overdose fatalities," Brewington explained. "We know that syringe exchanges are highly effective in reducing overdose."
Research shows harm-reduction strategies can help mitigate the effects of drug abuse.
get more stories like this via email
Regulators have put the Midwest on high alert for energy shortfalls this summer, while forecasters say most areas will be hotter than usual. In Iowa…
The Food4All campaign is calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to expand access to food assistance to all undocumented Californians when he submits his final …
The Maryland Democratic Party is asking for the state to be considered for an early primary for the 2024 presidential election. The party submitted a …
There has been an alarming rise in racist incidents against Asian residents in Oregon, and it is changing how community members behave. The Oregon …
Funding from the infrastructure measure Congress passed last year could benefit a struggling rural community in Oregon. Lawmakers in the state have …
Native American communities say the pandemic severely limited their ability to communicate with the rest of the world and each other, largely because …
New York City students in insecure housing situations continue to have alarmingly low school attendance rates, heightened by the pandemic. Youth …
The St. Joseph Youth Alliance has been awarded a YouthBuild Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, to help students earn their high school …