WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – New data from the CDC released on Wednesday shows 2020 was the deadliest year yet for drug overdoses.
The agency estimates we saw a 29 percent increase in overdose deaths across the country over last year. The North Carolina numbers are actually worse than the national statistics, with the Tar Heel state projecting a 36 percent increase in overdose deaths.
Local leaders say the true loss of life is likely even higher than the data suggests.
As the supervisor of Coastal Horizon’s Quick Response Team, Buffy Taylor often meets people at their lowest and helps them begin the journey into recovery.
“Hearing peoples stories and what they’ve gone through you know it can be heartbreaking,” said Taylor.
She says the crisis team encountered more overdose survivors this past year than ever before, an observation that lines up with the CDC data that shows an unprecedented 93,000 overdose deaths last year.
“We have seen some people who overdosed and we do think that the increase in fentanyl and most drugs has been the reason why this is happened and it’s pretty alarming and it’s really devastating for our community,” explained Taylor. “All of the isolation, maybe fear of the unknown, of what’s going to happen, financial stress, domestic violence has increased, substance use his increased, and you know it’s created a barrier where people think there’s not treatment.”
In addition to the pandemic year, Wilmington detox facility The Harbor announced it would be closing in 2020, which Taylor agrees was a huge hit to the recovery community.
The closing happened around the time leaders broke ground on The Healing Place, the county’s $25 million drug and alcohol recovery facility expected to be completed next May.
“We do hope that there’s more facilities in the future I think the community knows that this is again something that hasn’t gone away and that we need it so badly,” said Taylor.
While the pandemic year placed plenty of obstacles in their path, providers want people to know that help is still available and there is hope for the future.
“I think it’s letting people know that we are here and we are here to help them get connected to treatment so treatment is available treatment as an option in recovery is possible,” said Taylor.
If you or a loved one has overdosed or needs help the quick response team can help find treatment options and can be reached at 910-833-2052.
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