FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — More North Carolinians are dying from opioid overdoses than just four years ago.
Experts say a lot of people in recovery relapsed at the start of the pandemic. Treatment centers are working to manage the opioid epidemic.
“I have spoken with a lot of the patients who are coming through and they– and they say it’s just hardest thing to kick,” said Louis Leake, Director of Carolina Treatment Center of Fayetteville.
Leake sees about 400 people daily, who are in recovery from opioid addictions at the center.
“It’s people from all walks of life, all walks of life,” he said.
In 2022, there was an average of 4,041 opioid deaths in the state. That’s nearly 1,700 more than 2019.
“Getting it under control I don’t know if that’s every going to happen. But maybe we can manage a little bit better,” Leake said.
He said fentanyl is causing the latest wave of overdoses. Some people even mix synthetic fentanyl with animal tranquilizers and other drugs.
“It’s being mixed in your methamphetamine, it’s being mixed in your cocaine, it’s even being mixed in your marijuana,” Leake said.
Leake said this epidemic is impacting Black and Hispanic communities following the pandemic.
Cumberland County is also feeling the effects with its proximity to Interstate 95.
“Drug trafficking, human trafficking it hasn’t gone away. It only increased,” Leake said.
But there are things you can do to help.
“A lot of things we can do in order to help someone. Just pick up brochures and randomly leave them out for them to pick up and read,” he said.
Leake said access to treatment is becoming more widely available. However, treatment can be expensive for families. Leake said slowly it’s changing across the board.