Family Medicine and the NCAFP were well-represented earlier this week at the NC Opioid Summit in Raleigh by both staff and physician leaders. Leading speakers from around the state and country discussed ways to reduce the opioid epidemic across North Carolina, including Bertha Madras, PhD, professor of psychobiology at Harvard Medical School and former Deputy Director of Demand Reduction in the White House office of National Drug Control Policy. Other speakers included Gov. Roy Cooper; Attorney General Josh Stein; Health & Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen; as well as retired Admiral James Winnefeld, Jr., co-founder of SAFE (Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic) Project, who spoke about the loss of his own son to opioid addiction.
Several key statistics point to notable progress in tackling the epidemic. For instance, as compared to 2017 when the initiative formally began, opioid dispensing has decreased by 24%; buprenorphine dispensing has increased 15%; and there has been a decline in Emergency Room visits for opioids for the first time in over a decade.
During the meeting, Gov. Cooper and DHHS Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen issued the state’s Opioid Action Plan 2.0, which has been designed to build on lessons learned since 2017 when the plan was first launched.