Drug overdoses take the lives of around 100,000 people in the US each year, making them a serious public health concern. This problem has been made worse by the COVID-19 epidemic, which has increased stress, isolation, and service disruptions, all of which raise the risk of substance abuse and overdose.
This article explores the circumstances in a city in North Carolina that has the regrettable distinction of being the state’s epicenter for drug overdoses. We’ll look at the contributing elements that made this worrying situation possible.
Wilmington is the Drug Overdoses Capitol of the State
Wilmington has the regrettable distinction of having the highest rate of opioid abuse in the country, with over 11.6 percent of its residents abusing opiates, according to a survey from the health information business Castlight.
Wilmington also has the highest rate of drug overdose emergency room visits in the state, with 495 visits per 100,000 residents. At 62 overdose deaths per 100,000 persons, it also has the second-highest rate in the state. These numbers far exceed the state and national averages, indicating a severe and ongoing problem in the city.
Opioids are the main reasons behind these overdoses, especially synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Unbeknownst to the user, fentanyl is a powerful and deadly drug that is frequently mixed illegally with heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine.
Because fentanyl is so lethal, even very small doses can cause respiratory depression and even death. This drug is a leading cause of opioid overdose deaths in the United States, and it is easily accessible and reasonably priced for those with substance use disorders in Wilmington.
Wilmington’s Drug Overdose Factors
The prevalence of drug use and overdose in Wilmington is influenced by a number of factors, including stigma, mental health conditions, homelessness, unemployment, poverty, and limited access to harm reduction and treatment programs. Wilmington is a seaside city in southeast North Carolina with a population of more than 100,000.
Due to the city’s history of racial segregation, economic downturn, and social upheaval, its citizens tend to be stressed, depressed, and pessimistic. Wilmington also has to deal with environmental pollution, flooding, and hurricanes, all of which have an adverse effect on the general health and wellbeing of the local population.
Wilmington is not alone in experiencing a high number of drug overdoses; a Castlight analysis lists numerous North Carolina cities—including Hickory, Jacksonville, Fayetteville, and Durham—among the top 25 for opioid usage.
Wilmington and these cities are comparable in that they are both in the south, have a strong military presence, and continue to face social and economic difficulties.
Lack of financing and support from the state and federal governments is one of the main challenges in addressing Wilmington’s drug overdose issue. As one of the few states that has not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, North Carolina stands out.
This increase may make health insurance and therapy more accessible to those with low incomes who use drugs.
In addition, the state enforces severe laws and rules that limit the accessibility and effectiveness of harm reduction programs, including as naloxone distribution, syringe exchange, and venues for supervised consumption.
In addition, there is a conspicuous deficiency of financing and resources at both the state and federal levels to address the root causes and consequences of the drug overdose crisis, including homelessness, poverty, mental health disorders, and the requirement for criminal justice reform.
In conclusion, Wilmington is among the most badly impacted cities in the country and has the regrettable distinction of being the state’s capital for drug overdoses.
The main causes of this situation are the pervasive and strong availability of opioids, especially fentanyl, as well as a number of social, economic, and environmental variables that increase the risk of drug use and overdose.
All governmental levels must work together in a comprehensive manner to address Wilmington’s drug overdose issue. It also necessitates the active participation and collaboration of a variety of stakeholders, such as community groups, healthcare professionals, drug-abusing individuals, and their respective relatives and friends.
Crucially, Wilmington’s drug overdose issue is not unavoidable nor irreversible. This problem is avoidable and solvable with the right partnerships, policies, and programs in place.