Opioid Crisis

North Carolina's Opioid Action Plan 2017-2021

Due to decades of prescribing more opioids at higher doses, North Carolina is experiencing an opioid epidemic.

From 1999 to 2016 more than 12,000 North Carolinians died from opioid-related overdoses. This epidemic is devastating families and communities. It is overwhelming medical providers and is straining prevention and treatment efforts.

To tackle this health crisis, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is working to connect people with preventative healthcare, substance use disorder treatment and community supports. This is a complex issue requiring partnership from many sectors and is an effort that needs to be supported through funding and resources to be successful. Learn more below about how North Carolina and its partners are working to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 20 percent by 2021.

North Carolina's Opioid Action Plan

North Carolina’s Opioid Action Plan was developed with community partners to combat the opioid crisis. It is a living document that will be updated as we make progress on the epidemic and are faced with new issues and solutions. Strategies in the plan include:

  • Coordinating the state’s infrastructure to tackle the opioid crisis.
  • Reducing the oversupply of prescription opioids.
  • Reducing the diversion of prescription drugs and the flow of illicit drugs.
  • Increasing community awareness and prevention.
  • Making naloxone widely available.
  • Expanding treatment and recovery systems of care.
  • Measuring the effectiveness of these strategies based on results.

Governor Cooper Announces Bold Action Plan to Turn the Tide of the Opioid Epidemic in North Carolina

Updated Metrics for North Carolina’s Opioid Action Plan, January 2018

North Carolina's Opioid Action Plan, June 2017, Version 1

Fact Sheet: Highlights from North Carolina's Opioid Action Plan Fact Sheet

North Carolina Prescription Drug Abuse Advisory Committee

Opioid Misuse and Overdose Prevention Summit Wrap-up Video

Overview: The Opioid Crisis

Fentanyl Information for First Responders

Fact Sheet: Opioid-related Overdoses

County by County Figures: The Opioid Crisis in North Carolina

Opioid and Heroin Poisoning Deaths, Emergency Department Visits and Hospitalizations by County

Cures Act Grant

Governor Cooper Announces Next Wave of Funding and New Tools to Combat Opioid Crisis

Governor Cooper Announces $31 Million Grant to Fight Opioid Epidemic in NC

For Providers

DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen Seeks Help from Clinicians to Solve Opioid Crisis in NC

U.S. Surgeon General’s Turn the Tide Pledge

CDC’s Guidelines of Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain

CDC Injury Prevention and Control: Opioid Overdose Guidelines

NC Controlled Substances Reporting System (CSRS)

NC Clinical Tools and Training/CME

Preferred Drug List Opioid Analgesics and Combination Therapy Daily MME

Prior Approval Criteria for Opioid Analgesics

Non-Opioid Alternatives

DMA Opioid Safety - STOP Act Crosswalk (August 2017)

FAQ on Naloxone Standing Order (August 2017)

Provider Considerations for Tapering of Opioids

General Provider Pharmacy Cover Letter

July 2017 Pharmacy Newsletter (article regarding opioids)

August 2017 Medicaid Bulletin (article regarding opioids)

Safe Syringe and Naloxone

Cooper Announces State Distribution of 40,000 Doses of Life-Saving Naloxone to Fight Opioid Epidemic

NC Safer Syringe Initiative

NC Harm Reduction Coalition: Naloxone; law enforcement; syringe exchange

Naloxone Saves – Pharmacies and health departments in NC with naloxone

Get Help

Directory of Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment Providers in NC

Carolinas Poison Center, 1-800-222-1222

Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255)


Opioid Misuse & Overdose Prevention Summit