Local News

NC Harm Reduction Coalition armed with drug to reverse opioid overdose

Posted May 24, 2016
Updated June 1, 2016

North Carolina is the home to four of the top 25 cities for opioid abuse, according to a new study.

Wilmington ranks No. 1 in the state, while Hickory, Jacksonville and Fayetteville also made the list.

According to the study, one out of every three opioid prescriptions, which includes OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet, are being abused.

With nearly 2 million Americans abusing opioid prescriptions, the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition said deaths and overdoses are running rampant.

The coalition said it’s working to stop the epidemic with a reversal drug known as naloxone. The drug, which reverses or blocks the effect of an opiate, is given away for free by the non-profit organization.

"Really, everyone should carry it,” said Tessie Castillo of the NC Harm Reduction Coalition. “If you have an opioid in your house, you should have naloxone in your house as well."

Castillo said the demand for the drug is so high that the non-profit is hardly able to keep it on the shelves.

"We have come up against funding shortages. Just last week actually, we had completely run out of naloxone,” Castillo said.” We are just completely out. I had to turn everybody down."

Castillo said the coalition now has a fresh shipment, which will soon be distributed in hopes of saving lives.

The NC Harm Coalition offers services to 91 counties.


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