Learn More: Community Resources

Opioid-related overdose deaths in North Carolina have doubled in the past 10 years alone, and the problem continues to grow. Learn more about Attorney General Stein and Secretary Cohen’s work to address the epidemic through the MorePowerfulNC campaign, our partners, recovery stories, and more.

To combat the opioid crisis, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services worked with community partners to develop North Carolina’s Opioid Action Plan (NC OAP).  New Website for OPDAAC! The Opioid and Prescription Drug Abuse Advisory Committee (OPDDAC) website is now housed here. Be sure to check it out!

“Opioid abuse is a serious public health issue. Drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of injury death in the United States. Protect yourself and your loved ones from prescription drug abuse and overdose death.” – US Department of Health and Human Services

Click Here for Statewide Overdose Surveillance Reports

View a WRAL Documentary on the Opioid Epidemic, Searching for a Fix

Opioids & Overdose

Opioids reduce pain and are “downers.” They slow down breathing and can make people sleepy.

Prescribed and illegal opioids include heroin, fentanyl, OxyContin, Vicodin, codeine, methadone and morphine. Opioids like fentanyl are also showing up in other street drugs.

Anybody who takes a toxic amount of opioids can overdose. It can cause a person to stop breathing, leading to brain damage and death.


Additional resources:

There are currently 1,158 confirmed medication or drug overdose deaths for 2020 (79% involved opioids).  *2020 data are considered provisional and subject to change as cases continue to be finalized. Counts of medication and drug overdose deaths include all intents, restricted to NC residents. -State Center for Health Statistics

Finalized data for 2019 found 2,352 confirmed medication or drug overdose deaths (81% involved opioids). -State Center for Health Statistics

To combat the opioid crisis, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services worked with community partners to develop North Carolina’s Opioid Action Plan (NC OAP).

The NC OAP launched in June of 2017 and established thirteen data metrics to track and monitor the opioid epidemic. The opioid data dashboard on this site is meant to provide integration and visualization of state and county-level metrics for stakeholders across NC to track progress towards reaching the goals outlined in NC OAP. For more information on the NC OAP, click here. 

Help, Resources, and Information: National Opioids Crisis


Statewide Overdose Surveillance Reports: This webpage includes statewide summary data, a link to the state’s Opioid Action Plan Data Dashboard, monthly data updates, and county-level data. Please contact us with questions or data requests. Visit Poisoning Prevention and Unintentional Poisoning from Prescription Drugs for more information on preventing poisoning deaths in North Carolina.

Overdose Emergency Department Visits (NC DETECT):

  • Overdose Involving Medication or Drugs with Dependency Potential: There were 1,231 overdose ED visits this January involving medication or drugs with dependency potential compared to 1,022 this time last year (Jan 2020). A 20% increase for January 2021 compared to January 2020. Read the full report here.
  • Opioid Overdose: There were 727 opioid overdose ED visits this January compared to 541 this time last year (Jan 2020). A 34% increase for January 2021 compared to January 2020. Read the full report here.
  • EMS Encounters for Suspected Opioid Overdose: There were 749 EMS suspected opioid overdose encounters this January compared to 868 this time last year (Jan 2020). These encounters most commonly occurred inside a private residence, and most patients were treated and transported to a hospital. Read the full report here. 

The Injury and Violence Prevention Branch (IVPB) includes statewide summary data, a link to the state’s Opioid Action Plan Data Dashboard, monthly data updates, and county-level data. Visit Poisoning Prevention and Unintentional Poisoning from Prescription Drugs for more information on preventing poisoning deaths in North Carolina.


Additional Data Resources:

Local Resources for Parents and Guardians:


Additional Resources:

Resources for Pregnant Women:

Upcoming Event(s):

Below are a few ways to get involved and help fight the opioid crisis through volunteering:

  • Cape Fear Coalition for a Drug Free Tomorrow supports the community in its commitment to change attitudes, encourage action, and mobilize stakeholders around the issues of underage drinking, impaired driving, and substance abuse.
  • Safe Kids Cape Fear strives to reduce the number of unintentional deaths and injury to children ages 0-19 years in our area through prevention, intervention, and education. The coalition promotes changes in attitudes, behavior, laws and the environment to prevent accidental injury to children. 

State Information: 


Federal Information: 

“The opioid epidemic is taking lives and tearing families apart across the country, including North Carolina. More people die in North Carolina of an accidental drug overdose – usually an opioid – than any other cause of accidental death.” – NC Department of Justice: Confronting NC’s Opioid Crisis

Health: 1650 Greenfield Street • Wilmington, NC 28401 • Phone 910-798-3500 • Fax 910-798-7834 • Human Services Fax 910-798-7824
Environmental Health: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-6667 • Fax 910-798-7815
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