Has the Opioid Epidemic Affected the First Nations in North Carolina?


Created On: Monday, 21, October 2019
Modified On: Monday, 18, November 2019

Opioid abuse and addiction affects people from all over the state of North Carolina and does impact the First Nations communities living within the state. For example, some members of the Qualla Boundary, the Cherokee reservation home to 8000 First Nations in the Western Part of North Carolina. The Qualla Boundary was one of the 10 locations across the country that was identified as a high-intensity drug trafficking area. In September of 2018, federal authorities arrested 76 people and seized one million dollars of opioids found on the reservation. Between 2012 and 2018 the number of patients at the Cherokee Indian Hospital diagnosed with a drug-related condition increased by 300%.

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Much of the western part of North Carolina has been hit hard with opioid problems. In 2017 the number of fatal overdoses increased by more than 22%. Within the western part of the state is an eight-county region that saw around 17 opioid deaths per 100,000 residents between 2012 and 2016. Within the rest of the state the number of opioid deaths is around 12 per 100,000 residents. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has spent millions of dollars on medical facilities to combat the opioid crisis. A hospital and treatment center was opened in 2015, and the old hospital is being transformed into a crisis stabilization unit. Opioid addiction has become problematic in the western part of North Carolina.

If you are struggling with an opioid addiction there is help available, whether through the First Nations treatment centers or other programs within the state. Opioid addiction requires lengthy treatment, such as detox and inpatient treatment. Within the state of North Carolina are various treatment resources, many of which help opioid addicts and offer specific treatment for opioid addiction.