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Fight against the Opioid Epidemic

By: Charlotte Smith

On September 20th, 2017, Josh Stein, North Carolina Attorney General addressed a crowd in Brunswick County about the Opioid Epidemic. was there to gather information to assist with the issues in Bladen County. 

The three components of the fight against the Opioid Epidemic seem to be Education, Intervention and Prevention. Doctors and dentists wrote nearly 10 million prescriptions last year, according to Stein. He pointed out education with doctors and patients is one key to ending the Opioid epidemic. 

“Lack of resources for treatment is tragic,” Stein said as he reported one out of 10 addicts get treatment. 

Stein said pain needs to be treated effectively, doctors need training in alternative treatment. Chiropractic, cognitive, and acupuncture care are a few of the alternative treatments Stein mentioned. 

Insurance companies need to pay for the alternative treatments and insurance should pay doctors for the extra time it takes to council patients on how to manage with their pain. 

More safe drop boxes for medicines need to be provided. Stein also spoke on enforcement. “People must be held accountable,” Stein said. 

“We can not arrest our way for out of this,” he explained. 

The Orange County Sheriff has a hope initiative and the Sheriffs in Fayetteville and Wilmington also have good programs. 

Another point was made about the Sheriff’s offices needing to have the naloxone drug on hand to help prevent over dose deaths. 

The STOP Act was explained. The new legislation requires all doctors to check the state wide records for patients Opioid prescriptions. There is a five day limit for Opioid prescriptions for acute pain and a seven day limit for post operative pain according to the STOP ACT. 

The new legislation mandates opioid prescription to be sent to the pharmacies by e-subscriptions and has grant funding for treatment. 

The Stop Act addressed the Phenol synthetic drug which was not illegal and was the cause of many deaths. The drug is now illegal. 

The act also implements catch all language and investigating unlawful marketing practices by drug manufacturers according to Stein. 

Judge Ola Lewis who is helping spearhead the fight against the Opioid Epidemic in Brunswick County also spoke on the topic. She encouraged citizens to actively engage Brunswick County commissioners. Judge Lewis has also been working with Bladen County officials on a plan to help with the crisis in the mother county. 

Judge Lewis suggested to the citizens the following be recommended at the next Brunswick County Commissioners meeting held on October 16th

Action plan- 

Pay for a prevention manager

Pay for additional resources

Pay for support services 

Sponsor and organize county wide meetings and Take back events 

Public Service announcements 

Help with treatment for services for low income citizens needing assistance 

Community Care of the Lower Cape Fear safe prescribing education program 

Parents of children suffering with addiction voiced their concerns and rallied those in attendance to fight for changes and to support Judge Lewis and other elected officials making positive changes. 

Another planning session in Bladen County on the topic is scheduled for Thursday, October 5th, at Bladen Community College from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. If you are in the Bladen County area and know someone in need of help with addiction call: 800.913.6109. 

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