An Overview of Opioid Statistics in North Carolina

December 7, 2022

There is an opioid epidemic going on in America, one that has been steadily increasing since the late 1900s. Every state has its own statistics, and North Carolina is no different.

Since 1999, statistics show that nearly one million Americans have died from opioid overdose. That number, however, is suspected to be much higher considering how many overdose deaths are never reported.

Since 1999, in North Carolina alone, we’ve lost around 13,000 (likely more) to accidental overdose deaths, and as much as we’d like to say the numbers are going down, it’s the opposite.

Research reveals that overdose deaths have spiked over the last decade, more than doubled. Nowadays, nearly every single person in the state has experienced addiction, whether directly, secondhand through a loved one or a friend of a friend.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at how the opioid epidemic has impacted North Carolina.

Opioid epidemic statistics

Blue Cross NC revealed that opioid use disorder diagnoses increased nearly 500 percent across the country in recent years, and that it’s estimated over two million people are currently addicted to opioids throughout the United States.

Opioid addiction has increased more than 50 percent in North Carolina, with over 1,200 Carolinians dying every year from an accidental opioid overdose.

In this state alone, medical providers wrote over 8.5 million prescriptions for opioids in 2015. Wilmington, North Carolina, is considered the worst city in America for opioid abuse rates, with four of North Carolina’s top cities also having significantly high opioid overdose rates.

Opioid death statistics

The number of drug overdose deaths has quintupled since 1999 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and only continues to rise with each year. Synthetic opioid-involved death rates have seen the largest growth rate, with a near 60 percent escalation in recent years.

From 1999 to 2017, there were more than 13,000 accidental overdose deaths in North Carolina, a tenfold increase since 1999. If the trend continues, it is projected that over 2,000 people will die from overdose deaths every year based on research from the North Carolina Medical Journal; this was already experienced in 2017 when the state experienced a 32 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths from the previous year.

The number of accidental overdose deaths has more than doubled in the past decade based on an article from More Powerful North Carolina, leading to, on average, five people dying from an opioid overdose every day in the state.

Where do we go from here?

The opioid epidemic is wreaking immeasurable damage and pain on families and communities; it’s overwhelming medical providers and rising with each year. 

These opioid overdose statistics are a reflection that with the evolution of society has come to an increase in substance abuse disorders, addictions and deaths. Societal and environmental changes over the recent two decades need to be taken into account as we work to figure out why the opioid epidemic keeps growing, among other factors.

Consistent research shows that the rapid increase in opioid overdoses and deaths in recent years is largely the result of two things: medical providers defaulting to opioids as the standard pain-killing medication (rather than keeping opioids as the exception) and the increase in mental health conditions, which is the result of a variety of factors.

Education is the first step — seeking professional help is the second.

Reach out when you need help

If you suspect you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, reach out to our team at October Road. Substance abuse and addiction can be fatal when left untreated, so it’s important to seek professional help whenever necessary.

October Road is a quality drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in North Carolina that specializes in trauma-informed behavioral health and substance use treatment programs. Our treatment services are rooted in evidence-based treatment and catered specifically to meet your individual needs.

Our top priority is your recovery and long-term health and happiness, which is why our team is dedicated to providing high-quality care to you throughout your recovery journey. Submit a form or call us today at 888-201-5086 to get started.