Drug and Alcohol Abuse in North Carolina: Statistics and Trends

Substance abuse and the deaths that often accompany it are widespread problems throughout the United States. While every state faces its own unique and serious drug and alcohol abuse issues, North Carolina faces overdose death rates much higher than the national average. While alcohol and other drugs certainly play a role in these numbers, almost all of these deaths are attributed to opioids. One of the most tragic aspects of these statistics is that drug overdose deaths are preventable.

The opioid crisis in America has reached epidemic levels, and the number of deaths due to heroin and prescription opioids seems to continue an upward trend. North Carolina is also home to several areas that top national charts for substance abuse, such as Wilmington, Hickory, Jacksonville, and Fayetteville. According to a CastLight report conducted in 2016, Wilmington alone had an opioid abuse rate of 11.6% – the highest in the country.

The opioid epidemic has grown for several reasons. “Doctor shopping” is a common practice among opioid addicts. Essentially, an opioid abuser will visit several doctors in the same day to obtain several opioid prescriptions, and then proceed to have them filled at different dispensaries. Additionally, research indicates that doctors may be too willing to dole out opioid prescriptions due to their accessibility and effectiveness. Over-diagnosis is certainly part of the problem, and the CDC and other government agencies have pushed for new measures to ensure doctors are not wantonly prescribing opioids, and only providing such prescriptions when it is absolutely medically necessary.

Although alcohol and other illegal drugs such as cocaine, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine certainly pose problems to North Carolina, opioids continue to be the most pressing concern and the leading cause for substance abuse-related overdoses and deaths. The number of overdose deaths in North Carolina increased roughly 260% between 1999 and 2014. In 1999, the state reported 363 drug-induced overdose deaths. That number reached 1,306 in 2014. The 2014 data also showed that prescription opioids contributed to more than half of all drug-related overdose deaths.

One of the biggest problems with opioid addiction is that when addicts run out of their prescriptions, heroin becomes satisfactory, and even preferred replacement, as black market pills are more expensive. Heroin is a powerful opioid and is far more accessible and cheaper than prescription opioids. Heroin is also far more likely to be unsafe, as many dealers cut heroin with other substances in order to pad their inventory and make more sales. Between 2011 and 2014, the number of deaths caused by heroin overdoses more than tripled from 79 to 253.

North Carolina’s Struggles with Substance Abuse

One of the major issues facing substance abuse treatment in North Carolina is the fact that while many of the areas with the highest abuse rates are situated in rural settings. This makes transportation to and from recovery centers an issue for many addicts. Additionally, the state struggles to handle “dual diagnosis” cases, which describe addicts in need of mental health treatment as well as treatment for substance abuse. Research indicates the link between mental health issues and substance abuse is strong, and North Carolina seems to exemplify this trend.

North Carolina lawmakers and activists have pushed several measures in an effort to curb this disturbing trend. More robust drug education and “medicine drops” have become regular operations in North Carolina. Operation Medicine Drop was created to allow citizens to safely discard prescription medicines they no longer needed to ensure they do not fall into the wrong hands. Since 2009, over 61 million doses have been disposed of in this manner during the biannual events.

However, despite the efforts made by nonprofit organizations, law enforcement, and government action, North Carolina continues to exhibit some of the most startling drug-related death statistics in the country. Treatment centers in North Carolina may be able to provide comprehensive substance abuse treatment and care, but many addicts find better alternatives out of state.

Why Choose Florida?

Florida is well-known in the substance abuse industry as “The Recovery State.” Over the past several decades, the ports of Florida (Miami in particular) have allowed countless drug shipments to reach dealers in the United States from overseas. While many “traditional” drugs are pushed through Florida, the state is also often the first to encounter synthetic “boutique” drugs from other countries. Drugs such as Flakka and bath salts have made national news in Florida, and Florida law enforcement is often the first line of defense in keeping these drugs out of the country.

As Florida has contended with drug issues for so long, the state is now home to some of the best substance abuse doctors and recovery centers in the nation. Many addicts from all over the country find that Florida treatment centers provide a better standard of care than most options in other areas of the country. Additionally, Florida has developed some of the most cutting-edge treatment methods and scientific data due to the long-term issues the state has had with substance abuse. Many addicts who visit Florida for treatment also find that the state’s sunny climate is a helpful perk for seeking recovery in Florida.

The Treatment Center: Florida’s Top Choice

The Treatment Center is the premiere substance abuse center in Florida and represents decades of experience and premium care. Situated a mere two miles from the beautiful Florida shore, our patients receive the absolute best substance abuse treatment available in the state. Our staff is trained to tailor treatment plans to each patient’s unique situation. Every addiction case is different, and the addict’s substance of choice, frequency and longevity of addiction. and level of abuse must all be taken into account for a healthful recovery process.

The Treatment Center is proud to boast one of the most cutting-edge facilities in Florida staffed by reputable, compassionate, and experienced doctors. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse in North Carolina, you will find a better option for starting over at The Treatment Center in Florida. We believe that every addict can achieve lifelong sobriety with medically assisted detoxification and a comprehensive treatment and counseling plan. We want to make a difference in the lives of individuals struggling with any type of substance abuse.

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