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Planning for Bladen County Opioid forum is under way

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By Erin Smith

Plans for an County Leadership Opioid Forum are under way for Bladen County. The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners is encouraging all 100 counties to conduct forums to educate citizens and develop strategies to deal with the growing opioid crisis in North Carolina. According to data released by the NC ACC, there were 1.3 prescriptions for Opioids written per resident in Bladen County in 2016 and there were 101.1 pills per resident in Bladen County in 2016.

The purpose of the forum, which is tentatively planned for mid-September is to stimulate discussion and develop ideas to help reduce opioid use and abuse in the county, said Bladen County Manager Greg Martin. The overall goal is to bring together elected officials, law enforcement, providers and others as deemed necessary to learn what resources are needed and what resources are available in your county.

Neighboring Brunswick County has 1.33 prescriptions per resident and 93.1 pills per resident in 2016; Columbus County has 1.7 prescriptions per resident and 141.7 pills per resident in 2016; and Sampson County has 1.1 prescriptions per resident and 84.4 pills per person.  The statewide average for opioid prescriptions issued in 2016 is 1.06 and the statewide average for pills per person is 78.3. To view statistics for other counties, click here.

“Bladen County ranks in the top 25 out of 100 counties in prescriptions per resident,” said Martin. “The opioid epidemic is a serious issue and it is certainly a concern in Bladen County.”

For the period of 1999 to 2015, Bladen County reported a total of 44 opioid related deaths. In 2014, there were 7 reported opioid deaths in Bladen County, the highest number for the time period. In 2015, there were 5 reported opioid-related deaths in the county. To see data for all 100 counties, click here.