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CoastLine: Opioid Abuse and Law Enforcement's Evolving Strategies

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New Jersey recently passed one of the nation’s most comprehensive laws to combat the growing opioid and heroin crisis.  Tennessee is battling its own opioid epidemic as is Nebraska, Virginia, Connecticut, Washington State, New York, Wisconsin, Montana – the list goes on.  And as we’ve reported on this program before – Wilmington, North Carolina and the larger Cape Fear region is near the top of a national list for its abuse of opioids and heroin.

ABC News reports that carfentanil, a recent popular and deadly additive to heroin, has been legal in China— until now. Beijing is banning carfentanil and three similar drugs as of March 1, closing a major regulatory loophole in the fight to end America's opioid epidemic.  American officials hail this move as a sign China takes seriously its role in helping the United States fight this dangerous epidemic. 

While part of the solution is fighting the supply, law enforcement officials and those in the judicial system are finding innovative ways to deal with the demand side of the equation – those who are addicted to these drugs.    

With us to explore how law enforcement’s approach is evolving and what’s showing promise here: 

Judge J. Corpening, Chief District Court Judge for the 5th judicial district which includes New Hanover and Pender Counties.

Mitch Cunningham, Deputy Chief of the Wilmington Police Department


Coastal Horizons -- treatment / counseling  http://www.coastalhorizons.org/

LINC -- Leading Into New Communities  http://www.lincnc.org/

NC Harm Reduction Coalition -- syringe exchange, comprehensive access to other resources -- including naloxone


Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.