Opioid

man using syringe
Urban Seed Education via flickr, Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/7Akc6y

New cases of hepatitis B and C have risen significantly in North Carolina in recent years. In response, state health officials are warning those at a higher risk for the infection to get tested. 

Photo: Mark Martin
Courtesy of Mark Martin

North Carolina's Supreme Court Chief Justice has announced he's joining a task force to seek multi-state solutions to the national opioid crisis. Justice Mark Martin will serve as a member of the Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

On this edition of the WUNC politics podcast, a conversation with Rose Hoban of North Carolina Heath News.

ep_jhu / Flickr, Creative Commons https://flic.kr/p/63jLJE

North Carolina is receiving a large federal grant to treat people addicted to opioids. Governor Roy Cooper announced Thursday that the state will receive $31 million for treatment initiatives over the next two years.

The RTI International study on TROSA
RTI International / TROSA

The Durham-based substance abuse recovery program TROSA saves North Carolina $7.5 million annually.

The Robert Wood Johnson green map below shows the distribution of North Carolina’s health outcomes, based on an equal weighting of length and quality of life.
County Health Rankings / Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

A new analysis of health statistics shows there is still a divide between rural and urban health outcomes in North Carolina. 

The annual report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows the healthiest counties are Wake, Orange and Union. The worst outcomes were in Edgecombe, Scotland and Robeson counties.

Drew Gintis and his dog
Photo Courtesy of Marsha Gintis

Drew Gintis was a teenager when he started wrestling at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh.

And he loved it, even though he lost every match his freshman year, said his mother, Marsha Gintis.

“[He] worked so hard and by his junior year he had a 21 and 2 record,” she said. “His dream was to go to states.”

Prescription pills
Wikpedia

Note: this program is a rebroadcast from December 15, 2016.

President Obama signed legislation this week allocating $1 billion dollars to address the nation's worsening opioid crisis. Overdose deaths are on the rise, and current policies are inadequate in addressing the issues. 

Courtesy Samuel Peterson

Samuel Peterson has battled addiction all of his life.  When he was young, it was sugar. In his twenties, he turned to methadone and cocaine. As an adult, he moved to prescription painkillers and later heroin.

He eventually found sobriety, and in his 50s, Peterson enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also wrote a play. But underneath these life achievements was the pull of addiction.
 

Photos of Selena, the daughter of Louise Vincent
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

This is the final of three stories in a series looking into North Carolina's opioid drug epidemic. Read the first and second stories.

Louise Vincent believes her daughter, Selena, would still be alive today if a harm reduction treatment method were more widely accepted.

Narcan kits that provide naloxone
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

This is the second of three stories in a series looking into North Carolina's opioid drug epidemic. Read the first story here.

Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram was losing a battle against drugs.

Louise Vincent sits in her office and looks at photos of Selena
Jason deBruyn / WUNC

This is the first of three stories in a series looking into North Carolina's opioid drug epidemic.

On many days, Louise Vincent still cries.

She thinks about what might have been. Maybe her daughter, Selena, could have been a mother herself. Maybe a teacher. Maybe a social worker.

An image of a bottle of OxyContin
Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Deaths by opioid overdose are on the rise nationwide, and North Carolina remains hit hard by the epidemic.  In 2014, opioids killed more than 28,000 people, more than any years on record.  At least half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.