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, with an updated Opioid Action Plan 2.0 launched in June 2019 to continue to address this issue.

Since the plan was launched in 2017, opioid dispensing has decreased by 24 percent. Prescriptions for drugs used to treat opioid use disorders increased by 15 percent in that time frame, and opioid use disorder treatment specifically for uninsured and Medicaid beneficiaries is up by 20 percent. There were nearly 10 percent fewer emergency department visits for opioid overdoses in 2018 than in 2017.

In addition, North Carolina has received more than $54 million in federal funding, which has provided treatment for over 12,000 individuals with substance use disorder.

North Carolina's Opioid Action Plan 2.0 updates the 2017 plan with feedback from partners and stakeholders. Action Plan 2.0 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

  • Training systems and pharmacists to connect people to harm reduction services
  • Making the naloxone kits more widely available to the most burdened communities

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

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