NCDHHS Hosts Virtual Opioid Misuse and Overdose Prevention Summit North Carolina Continues to Support Communities Addressing the Overdose Epidemic


North Carolina leaders, including Governor Roy Cooper and Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, M.D. will take the virtual stage at the 2021 Opioid Misuse and Overdose Prevention Summit on May 4-6, 2021. Hundreds of national, state and local community leaders are coming together to discuss the integral role North Carolina’s communities play in prevention and response efforts across the state.

Multiple substances have been increasingly identified among people who fatally overdosed in North Carolina, and this year’s summit is about more than just opioids – it is about bolstering equity, centering lived experiences and addressing poly-drug use.

What: 2021 Opioid Misuse and Overdose Prevention Summit

When: Tuesday–Thursday, May 4–6, 2021
An agenda can be found here.

Where: Participants can register for the virtual summit here.

Media: A virtual press conference will also be held on Wednesday, May 5 at 3 p.m. via Zoom. To register as working media, email

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Opioid Use Disorder is a serious public health issue resulting in drug overdose deaths becoming the leading cause of injury death in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the United States continues to be in the midst of a prescription drug overdose epidemic, and in 2019, nearly five North Carolinians died each day from an unintentional opioid overdose. From 2000-2019, more than 16,500 North Carolinians lost their lives to unintentional opioid overdose.

The three-day Opioid Misuse & Overdose Prevention Virtual Summit includes more than 30 sessions and will provide an opportunity for participants to reflect on the progress made and share best practices to turn the tide of this epidemic. A few of the featured sessions will include:

  • A comparison of the public health, law enforcement and legislative responses to the contemporary opioid overdose crisis with how those institutions responded to the crack cocaine epidemic during the mid-1980s and 1990s
  • Discussions on polysubstance use and its implications for policy and practice
  • Supporting communities as they address the overdose epidemic at the local level 
  • Listening and learning from people with lived experience with substance misuse 
  • Building a more equitable response to the overdose crisis in the south

The event is hosted by the NCDHHS’ Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services with funding from Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Association, the NCDHHS Division of Public Health, and the CDC.

For additional information about the Opioid Misuse and Overdose Prevention Summit, including details of all sessions please visit