NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - New data shows the sobering impacts of the opioid crisis in North Carolina. As a state, there were more than 1,100 opioid-related deaths in 2015, a 73 percent increase from 2005.
"Opioid addiction is devastating families across the nation," said Governor Roy Cooper. "This is a uniquely challenging crisis for our communities and will require a new level of collaboration between law enforcement, treatment providers, and those in recovery."
The number of opiate-related deaths grew substantially in New Hanover and Pender counties over a ten-year span. While the number of deaths in New Hanover County nearly doubled, Pender County had one death in 2005 and 14 in 2015, a 1,300 percent increase.
Bladen County went from no opiate-related deaths in 2005 to 5 in 2015.
Other counties across the state seeing a sharp increase in opiate-related deaths include Johnston, with a nearly 188 percent growth rate and Randolph county with a 275 percent increase. Mecklenburg and Wake counties also both saw a dramatic increase in the number of deaths.
"I am committed to combating opioid abuse in North Carolina, and I urge the General Assembly to make a similar investment to help those who are suffering from this disease," Cooper said.
Cooper recently joined leaders across the country in a bipartisan commission to combat the opioid crisis.
The governor will work with the commission to support better access to mental health treatment and criminal justice reforms, which can help people suffering from addiction to truly recover.