North Carolina's Opioid Action Plan

North Carolina's Opioid Action Plan 2.0

North Carolina’s Opioid Action Plan was released in June 2017 with community partners to combat the opioid crisis. Updates to the plan were released in June 2019, and in May 2021 with an updated Opioid and Substance Use Action Plan to continue to address the issue.

Since the plan was launched in 2017, opioid dispensing has decreased by 34 percent. Prescriptions for drugs used to treat opioid use disorders increased by 33 percent in that time frame, and opioid use disorder treatment specifically for uninsured and Medicaid beneficiaries is up by 48 percent.

In addition, North Carolina has received more than $70 million in federal funding, which has provided treatment for over 21,000 people.

North Carolina's Opioid  and Substance Use Action Plan updates the previous plan with feedback from partners and stakeholders. The Action Plan includes local strategies that counties, coalitions and stakeholders can use to fight the opioid epidemic, which claimed five lives a day in North Carolina to unintentional overdose in 2017. The plan focuses on three areas of focus to fight the epidemic:


  • Cutting supply of inappropriate prescriptions and illicit opioids
  • Supporting youth through targeted programs to reduce youth misuse of the drugs
  • Improving maternal and prenatal care for women battling substance abuse

Reducing Harm

  • Advance harm reduction
  • Address non-medical drivers of health and eliminate stigma

Connecting to Care

  • Expanding access to treatment and recovery support
  • Addressing the needs of justice-involved populations

data dashboard developed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services helps to track and monitor the metrics in the Opioid Action Plan. These metrics show the state is seeing success in its efforts to combat the opioid crisis. The oversupply of prescription opioids is being reduced and access to treatment and recovery services has increased.

Additional Resources

Opioid Action Plan 2.0
Menu of Local Actions to Prevent Opioid Overdose in NC:
January 2021

NC Payers Council

North Carolina Opioid and Prescription Drug Abuse Advisory Committee

North Carolina Opioid Research Agenda

Opioid Action Plan - June 2017
Overpowering NC’s Opioid Epidemic

Stop the Stigma Resource Guide
Using Medication-Assisted Treatment in Jails: A North Carolina Focus