The HOPE Act (2018) gives law enforcement authorities tools for addressing the opioid epidemic. The Act:
- Ensures that our drug trafficking laws cover trafficking in the deadly drug fentanyl
- Gives law enforcement quicker access to the information they need to investigate diversion of prescription drugs from legal to illegal uses
- Protects patient safety by strengthening laws against theft of drugs by healthcare workers and first responders
- Expresses the General Assembly’s intent to provide greater funding for drug treatment and recovery services
To confront this epidemic, we need cooperation among law enforcement, medical prescribers, the public health community, and the treatment and recovery community. Prevention, treatment and enforcement are critical. Prevention should educate both the people who misuse prescription drugs and the doctors and dentists who overprescribe them.
Our state particularly needs proven programs directed to young people to help them avoid risky behaviors. Illicit or non-medical use of painkillers is the highest for youth and adolescents. Teens and young adults report that prescription drugs are easy to access and seem safer than other drugs. More than 20 percent of North Carolina’s 11th graders have taken prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription.
After just a few days on an opioid, some patients’ brain chemistry begins changing to create an addiction. We must educate North Carolinians about the dangers of these medications if they are unneeded.
Helping someone treat their addiction is better for the person, their family, and their community. Naloxone, or Narcan, is a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose. Across North Carolina, it’s been administered 6,000 times by community members and first responders to save lives.
Learn more about prevention strategies and how you can get involved at www.morepowerfulnc.org
Source: NC Department of Justice