How Have Opioids
Affected North Carolina?

The numbers are devastating in our state:

  • Five people die from opioid overdoses every day.
  • More people die from opioid overdoses than car crashes.
  • More than 2,000 North Carolinians died of an opioid overdose in 2017 –  a 32 percent increase over the previous year.
  • Between 1999 and 2017, more than 13,169 North Carolina residents have lost their lives to unintentional opioid overdoses. 
  • The number of unintentional opioid overdose deaths in 2017 was nearly 17 times higher than in 1999. 
  • The number of unintentional opioid overdose deaths has more than doubled in the past decade. (NC State Center for Health Statistics – Vital Statistics- Death certificates; Analysis by Injury Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit)
  • In 2017, there were nearly 125 unintentional opioid-related overdose emergency department visits per week on average. (The North Carolina Disease Event Tracking and Epidemiologic Tool (NC DETECT); Analysis by Injury Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit)

For more information, visit the NC opioid data dashboard here.

Find more data on NC overdose deaths here, or data specific to emergency department intake here.

How Have Opioids
Affected the United States?

The numbers in relation to the entire country paint a troubling picture of the crisis:

  • More than 100 people die every day from opioid overdoses.
  • Overall life expectancy in the U.S. has declined for three years in a row due in large part to the opioid epidemic, reversing a half-century trend.
  • Overdoses kill more Americans than car crashes or gun violence.
  • Addiction contributes to mass incarceration. In 2010, 85% of the U.S. prison population was incarcerated for substance-related reasons, with over half of all inmates diagnosed with substance use disorders.

Learn more about how the opioid crisis has impacted life in the U.S. 

For additional information on the impact of the epidemic, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

What Are the Numbers
of the National Epidemic?

People died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses
11.4 m
People misused prescription opioids*
People died from overdosing on opioids**
2.1 million
People had an opioid use disorder*
People used heroin*
People used heroin for the first time*
2 million
People misused prescription opioids for the first time*
Deaths attributed to overdosing on commonly prescribed opioids**
Deaths attributed to overdosing on synthetic opioids other than methadone**
Deaths attributed to overdosing on heroin**
504 billion
In economic costs**

Learn more by visiting the US Department of Health and Human Services here.

Sources: *2016 National survey on Drug Use and Health, **Mortality in the United States, 2016 NCHS Data Brief No. 293, December 2017, ***CEA Report: The underestimated cost of the opioid crisis, 2017