Prescription drug abuse is a fast-growing problem in Asheville, Buncombe County, and the United States. Although it goes without saying, this addiction causes devastating problems for the individuals suffering and can tear apart families, friends, and communities.
Within the state, Western North Carolina has become a hotbed for opioid misuse.
In 2015 alone, an estimated 64 million opioid pills were prescribed throughout Buncombe County. By doing the math, that means each Buncombe County citizen was prescribed 64 pills over the course of the year. Henderson County had an even higher prescription rate in 2015 – 104 opioid pills per person. Although these figures are astounding, Macon County has the highest ratio in North Carolina with more than 257 pills per person.
In the wake of these startling statistics, the Asheville Citizen Times published an article with additional findings:
WNC OPIOIDS BY THE NUMBERS
- – Nearly 400 babies delivered at Mission Hospital tested positive for drugs in 2016
- – More than 150 of those babies are Buncombe County residents
- – 8 percent of NC’s population lived in WNC in 2015 and obtained 13.3 percent of the opioids prescribed statewide
- – Nearly 800 Buncombe County inmates were treated for withdrawal in 2016, an increase from about 450 inmates in 2014
- – 3,000 people were treated for opioid-related problems at Mission Hospital in 2016, a marked increase from the 1,611 comparable patients it treated in 2012
With the opioid epidemic spreading across our communities, it is more important than ever to properly dispose of expired, unused, or no longer needed medications. Dropping off medications to the proper receptacles may not seem like a big deal, but it truly can keep drugs out of the wrong hands.
In partnership with Substance Free Buncombe Youth, Sona will be hosting a Drug Take Back event this Saturday (April 29th) from 10 am – 2 pm. There will be free coffee and snacks, so please take a moment to stop by and properly dispose of your medications.
Although we have a long way to go in helping stop this epidemic, by keeping harmful prescription drugs off the street, we can take a key step in helping keep our communities safe and healthy.
We hope to see you Saturday.