WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Drug overdoses have been on the rise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — in fact, 2020 saw the largest number of overdoses compared with any other time in history.
That’s part of the reason the City of Wilmington just allocated $100,000 to Coastal Horizons to expand the Opioid Overdose Quick Response Team (QRT).
The quick response team operates in the city to engage with overdose survivors by connecting them with the help they need to hopefully get off opioids and get into treatment.
“Nationwide, 2020 saw the largest number of overdoses than in any time such data has been collected, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This increase has only compounded an ongoing concern in the City of Wilmington. New Hanover County’s rate of unintentional opioid overdose death in 2020 was 32 deaths per 100,000 residents, which was 45% higher than the state as a whole, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services,” reported in a press release.
The QRT comprises peer support specialists who have experience with substance abuse and mental health. From 2019 to 2020 the QRT had a high success rate with 90 percent of the people they responded to getting into treatment.
Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo spoke about the importance of the program — and the funding which will help provide resources to even more people.
“The opioid epidemic has touched nearly everyone and is especially present in Wilmington, but the work the Quick Response Team does to help transition individuals into treatment, to help them overcome any obstacles to recovery, and to support them every step of the way, is saving lives,” Saffo said. “I applaud the work of the QRT, the courage of the survivors to seek treatment, and the difference we’re seeing in our community from these efforts. Every day, we each have an opportunity to make Wilmington a better, safer, healthier city, and every day, the Quick Response Team rises to that challenge.”
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