Updated on May 17, 2024
3 min read

Updated Drug and Alcohol Statistics for North Carolina

North Carolina has been grappling with a significant drug and alcohol addiction crisis, which has had far-reaching consequences for individuals, families, and communities across the state. This article presents an overview of the latest statistics on overdose deaths, alcohol use and related issues, the opioid crisis, youth substance use, and the economic impact of addiction in North Carolina, highlighting the urgent need for effective solutions.

  • There was a 40% increase in overdose deaths from 2019 to 2020, with 3,304 deaths reported in 2020.1
  • More than 36,000 North Carolinians lost their lives to drug overdose between 2000 and 2022.2
  • Alcohol abuse costs North Carolina approximately $7 billion a year.3

Overdose Deaths

Overdose deaths have been on the rise in North Carolina, with a significant increase from 2019 to 2020. Here are some key statistics:

  • Nearly 15,000 emergency department visits were related to drug overdoses in 2020.1
  • Indications suggest that the increase in overdose deaths continued through 2021.1
  • Over 70% of overdose deaths in 2020 likely involved illicitly manufactured fentanyl.1
  • The involvement of stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine in overdose deaths is increasing.1
North Carolina chart 1

The alarming rise in overdose deaths underscores the urgent need to address the addiction crisis in North Carolina.

Alcohol Use and Related Issues

Alcohol use and related issues are significant concerns in North Carolina, with a high percentage of adults engaging in heavy and binge drinking. Consider these statistics:

  • Half of adults in North Carolina are current drinkers.4
  • 11% of current drinkers reported heavy drinking.4
  • 29% of current drinkers reported binge drinking at least once a month.4
North Carolina chart 2

Addressing alcohol-related issues through prevention, treatment, and policy changes is crucial for improving public health in North Carolina.

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Opioid Crisis

The opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on North Carolina, with a high number of opioid-related deaths and prescriptions. Here are some troubling statistics:

  • More than 36,000 North Carolinians lost their lives to drug overdose between 2000 and 2022.2
  • In 2021, 13 out of 100 people in North Carolina were prescribed opioids, representing 1,355,132 people with a dispensed opioid prescription.5

The alarming number of opioid-related deaths and the high rate of opioid prescriptions underscore the urgent need to address the opioid crisis in North Carolina.

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Youth Substance Use

Substance use among young people in North Carolina is a concern, with rates similar to the national average. Here is a relevant statistic:

  • North Carolina teens report similar rates of substance use as their peers across the nation.6

Continued efforts to prevent and address substance use among youth are essential for promoting healthy development and reducing the risk of addiction.

Economic Impact

The economic impact of the addiction crisis in North Carolina is substantial, with high costs associated with opioid-involved overdose deaths and alcohol abuse. Consider these statistics:

  • In 2019, the state incurred a combined total of $2.4 billion in costs related to opioid-involved overdose deaths.3
  • Alcohol abuse costs North Carolina approximately $7 billion a year.3

The high economic costs of addiction highlight the importance of investing in effective prevention, treatment, and recovery services to reduce the burden on individuals, families, and communities.

The statistics presented in this article paint a grim picture of the drug and alcohol addiction landscape in North Carolina. From the alarming increase in overdose deaths and the devastating impact of the opioid crisis to the high costs associated with addiction, it is clear that the state faces significant challenges in addressing this crisis. However, by prioritizing prevention, expanding access to quality treatment, and supporting long-term recovery, North Carolina can work towards a healthier, more resilient future for all its residents.

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Updated on May 17, 2024

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