Check out this feature that WITN News recently did on us below, or watch the video here.
PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – There is an opioid crisis in North Carolina, according to health officials, which has lead to thousands of unintentional overdoses.
Prescription medications containing opiates are the leading cause of those deaths and the reason there’s an effort to curb it.
For three years, Deborah Wyre dealt with back pain and was advised to have surgery, which got her on painkillers.
“They sent me home with Oxycodone,” she says.
An opioid, along with other prescription meds, that caused her to feel disconnected. To make matters worse, her pain intensified, so her doctor increased her dosage.
“My biggest goal was getting off drugs, I said my life is not going to be that, I’m going to be on pain medicine for the rest of my life, that’s not going to be my life,” Wyre says.
Determined to find alternatives, she found Dr. Steve Cohen in Greenville.
Dr. Cohen says opioid prescriptions aren’t fixing the problem. “It is definitely being over prescribed, we have so many ways of dealing with pain.”
Opioid prescriptions written in Pitt County are staggering. Last year, 10.6 million pills were prescribed. With a population of 175,000 people, that’s 60 pills per resident.
Dr. Christopher Grubb is on the a committee with the Pitt County Coalition of Substance Abuse. “I think the vast majority of opioids, even in Pitt County, are from refill prescriptions, because it’s something that’s already started by the same prescriber.”
The state is hoping to stop this crisis that can turn into a heroin addiction.
For Wyre, who is now off pain meds, Dr. Cohen is treating her with post electrical magnetic field or vibration therapy to help with pain.
“He has given me hope and I can see the rainbow now, to now, I see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” she says.
The Pitt County Coalition of Substance Abuse is holding an information session on how to stop what they call the opioid pandemic.
It’s being held Tuesday in Winterville from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Winterville Community Room.