MOREHEAD CITY, Carteret County — One county in eastern North Carolina has seen a significant increase in overdose emergency department visits in recent months.
According to data provided to the county by the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services, Carteret County has ranked within the top 10 highest counties for overdose emergency department visits in February and March.
The Carteret County Health Department and the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office are encouraging residents who are suffering from addiction during these challenging times to seek treatment.
"Loneliness, isolation, fear and anxiety are frequent triggers for alcohol or other drug use," says Stephanie Cannon, Carteret County Health Director. “If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use during this pandemic, there is help through community treatment resources. The Carteret County Health Department along with the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office encourages residents who are suffering from addiction during these challenging and uncertain times to seek treatment; treatment options are available.”
Cannon says there are two Mobile Crisis providers, RHA and Integrated Family Services, providing crisis intervention services during the coronavirus pandemic. Their teams of behavioral health professionals are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, to confidentially and safely stabilize the person.
For help with people in crisis, Cannon says community members can call RHA Mobile Crisis at 1-844-709-4097 or Integrated Family Services at 1-866-437-1821.
“We are seeing increasing numbers of overdoses; especially due to heroin and fentanyl," explains Sheriff Asa Buck. "So far, this year, we’ve had eight deaths attributed to drug overdose. Most of the people who have survived an overdose were lucky enough to have someone find them quickly and call for help and Narcan (a drug that can reverse and block the effects of opioids), was readily available to them. The continual use of heroin and fentanyl and other narcotics will only serve to destroy more lives. We are providing information in hopes that these resources can be helpful to those suffering from addiction, as well as provide needed information to their loved ones."
For a list of substance resources in the area, visit the Carteret County Health Department website.
Those experiencing a medical emergency should call 911 and/or go to their closest emergency department.