Unintentional opioid poisonings took the lives of 998 North Carolinians in 2015, a 900% increase since 1999. And this is just the tip of the iceberg: for every unintentional opioid overdose death in NC, there are 3 hospitalizations, 4 ED visits, 432 people who are not using the opioid medication in the way intended, and over 9,000 prescriptions written for opioids. Several NC cities and counties have some of the highest rates of opioid abuse in the nation.

This public health crisis is taking a huge toll on families, communities, health systems, and federal, state, and local economies. In 2014, the total societal costs of the opioid epidemic in North Carolina reached an estimated $2 billion: $582 million in healthcare costs from opioid abuse and $1.5 billion in loss of future productivity and medical costs from overdose deaths. Much of this cost burdens our already under-resourced public systems and services.

The problem is enormous, but there are concrete, actionable steps that healthcare providers and systems can take to address this crisis and prevent overdose and other fallout from opioid misuse.

The Opioid Prescription Drug Abuse Advisory Committee (OPDAAC) (See OPDAAC Partners) is a multi-disciplinary group established by the NCGA and led by DPH and DMH. OPDAAC builds on the NC Strategic Plan to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse and the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. OPDAAC workgroups developed a 4-part action plan (addressing Prevention, Treatment, Professional Training, and Data). The primary purpose of this website is to provide useful clinical resources for prescribers, dispensers, and other healthcare providers, but the site will also serve as a portal for individuals and communities seeking help.

OPDAAC’s goals are simple: reduce overdose deaths and reduce ED visits.

%22The scourge of opioid abuse and addiction must end. It will require an all-hands-on-deck effort by the entire health care community as well as national and state policy makers.%22

- Wanda Filer, MD, MBA, President of the American Academy of Family Physicians