AG: Federal funding will only put a dent in NC opioid crisis
Posted August 8
Raleigh, N.C. — The federal government is giving North Carolina $31 million to combat the ongoing opioid crisis, but Attorney General Josh Stein says the funds will put only a dent in the problem.
"It is going to get worse before it gets better," Stein said.
Stein said the funds will treat only about 3,000 to 4,000 people, or about $7,700 to $10,000 for each user.
"Treatments cost a few thousand dollars per person, which is a fraction of what it costs to put somebody in prison or jail," he said. "So, what we have to ask ourselves is, what is the most cost-effective way to deal with this crisis?"
Stein said the biggest change will come when state agencies begin to look beyond prevention and focus on recovery.
"We have these tens of thousands of people who are presently suffering from substance use disorder, addiction to these opioids," Stein said. "We have to have more treatment options. That's where we are failing."
Stein called that failure inexcusable, but he also knows that cutting off the crisis will take time.
Recently, Stein also advocated for the STOP Act, which would add requirements for doctors, dentists, veterinarians and pharmacists to track prescriptions for controlled substances in schedules II through V, including opioid pain medications, through the state’s Controlled Substances Reporting System database.