NC Harm Reduction Coalition

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It was 2013 that Dr. William Johnstone came to work as a Professor in the Obstetrics and Gynecology residency program at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. It didn’t take long for him to see the devastating consequences from the opioid epidemic firsthand – although back then, the community was not yet talking about it. 

One hospital administrator tells WHQR the numbers of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome went from about 35 in 2010 to between 120 to 140 by 2016.  Officials expect those numbers to continue rising.

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Wilmington, North Carolina is at the top of an unfortunate list.  One study published last year, based on analysis of numbers from the Centers for Disease Control, shows more than 11.5% of the population abuses opioids.  Opioid abusers tend to live in the rural south – according to the Castlight report