The opioid crisis and epidemic has dramatically impacted families, from all walks of life, across North Carolina.
According to the NC Opioid Action Plan, from 1999-2016, more than 12,000 North Carolinians died from opioid-related overdoses which has equally touched both rural and urban communities. Overdose rates are the highest among white males and those between the ages of 25-54 years old. Unintentional overdoses are a devastating reality to addiction.
In an effort to save lives, Eastpointe MCO is partnering with the Clinton Police Department to distribute Narcan (also referred to as Naloxone) kits to local first responder agencies.
The joint efforts are in alignment with the North Carolina Opioid Action Plan which has set a goal to decrease opioid-related deaths by 20 percent by the year 2021. Use of Naloxone by EMS has increased significantly since 2011 and we are seeing a substantial amount of community naloxone reversals.
More individuals than ever before are reaching out for both support and treatment options to address their addiction to opiates (like Oxycodone and Percocet) and/or heroin. This has been a steady, increasing trend over the last several years that does not seem to be going away.
Eastpointe’s Member Call Center receives calls daily from individuals and families requesting detoxification, treatment programs and other resources. Many callers report using opiates which produce a euphoric high and are highly addictive.
The user can experience physical and psychological withdrawals lasting several days to weeks following their last use. Withdrawals are flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, yawning, diarrhea, fever, sweating, dilated pupils, insomnia, runny nose and intense cravings for the drug. Other potential risks can be involvement in the criminal justice system, unemployment, conflicts within interpersonal relationships, Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.
Some individuals are linked to appropriate services and able to sustain long term recovery. For others, there may be a delayed period of time before they are ready to begin the treatment process. During this time, loved ones may feel desperate, frustrated and at a loss of what to do to keep the individual safe and most importantly, alive.
Naloxone is a reversal medication that is used to prevent lethal overdoses as it counteracts opiate intoxication and restores breathing. The 2016 North Carolina Good Samaritan Law provides immunity to people who give Naloxone to someone if they believe the person is overdosing, they provide reasonable care and administer the medication, in good faith. In addition, this law protects bystanders from prosecution if they call 911 to get emergency assistance for someone experiencing a crisis.
More information about Naloxone Kits can be found at www.Naloxonesaves.org or contact your local pharmacy. These kits can be lifesaving and serve as a safety net for families until treatment is accessed by the user.
If you or a loved one is in need of services or treatment for issues related to Mental Health, Substance Use or Intellectual Developmental Disabilities, please contact Eastpointe’s Call Center at 1-800-913-6109. Resources also available for those individuals without any health insurance coverage or Medicaid.