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:

In 2018, nearly 6 North Carolinians died each day from an unintentional medication or opioid overdose. From 1999 to 2018, more than 14,500 North Carolinians died from unintentional opioid-involved overdose deaths.

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

North Carolina Data & Statistics:

Click Here for 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.

  1. NC Data Summary:
    • There are 2,081 unintentional medication and drug overdose deaths for 2018.
    • From 2017 to 2018 North Carolina saw a 6% decrease in the number of unintentional medication and drug overdose deaths.
    • Males have twice the unintentional opioid-involved overdose
      death rate compared to females (18.4 compared to 9.1 per
      100,000, respectively).
    • Whites have the highest unintentional opioid-involved
      overdose death rate, at 18.2 per 100,000, followed by
      American Indians at 15.3 per 100,000.
    • Unintentional opioid-involved overdose death rates are
      highest among adults ages 25-54, and tend to be lowest
      among those 0-14 and 65+.
    • From 2017 to 2018, there was a 5% decrease in the number of unintentional medication and drug overdose ED visits (16,127 to 15,266) and an 8% decrease (6,541 to 6,019) in the number of hospitalizations.
  2. NC Harm Reduction Coalition Highlights: 
    • There are currently 1,840 year to date opioid overdose reversals reported to NCHRC by a community member, compared to 2,164 this time last year.
    • From 8/1/2013 to 7/31/2018, NCHRC distributed 88,630 reversal kits to community members and Law Enforcement Agencies across North Carolina. Kits have now been distributed in all 100 NC counties.
    • As of 7/31/2018 there were 251 Law Enforcement Agencies carrying naloxone, covering 90 countiesFrom 1/1/2015 to 7/31/2018 Law Enforcement Agencies reported 1,369 opioid overdose reversals to NCHRC.


The Injury and Violence Prevention Branch (IVPB) generates multiple resources to help keep their partners informed about overdoses in North Carolina:

  • Listen to a recording of the core set of overdose data slides from December 2017.
  • Visit the IVPB Poisoning Data page for county-level data tables on opioid dispensing, as well as overdose deaths, hospitalizations, and emergency department visits.
  • The Statewide Surveillance Reports folder contains monthly emergency department reports, monthly NC Harm Reduction data updates, and county-level overdose slide sets.
  • Quarterly updates to North Carolina’s Opioid Action Plan are available on the NC DHHS Opioid Crisis.
    • If you have additional questions about emergency department, emergency medical services (EMS), or law enforcement data please contact Sherani Jagroep at sherani.jagroep@dhhs.nc.gov.
    • For all other substance use data questions contact Mary Beth Cox at marybeth.cox@dhhs.nc.gov.

Additional Data Resources:

Local Resources for Parents and Guardians:

Additional Resources:

Resources for Pregnant Women:

Upcoming Event(s):


EQUIPPED: DON’T BE IN THE DARK ABOUT SUBSTANCE MISUSE is an evening to help arm parents of 5th to 12th graders with knowledge and resources to help their student if they ever encounter substance misuse. Register at http://bit.ly//2WuhXMv Monday, October 14, 2019 at 6:30pm at Port City Church Wilmington Campus 

Opioid Town Hall Meeting  Attorney General Josh Stein will join panelists, including New Hanover and Pender County district attorney Ben David and Wilmington’s police chief, Ralph Evangelous, to have a candid conversation about the opioid epidemic. The focus of the discussion will be on prevention, treatment and enforcement. Thursday, October 24, 2019 at 12:00pm at Wilmington City Council Chambers

Medication Disposal Event Saturday, October 26, 2019 from 10am-2pm at 19 locations throughout 6 counties. All forms of medications, syringes and sharps are accepted.

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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