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CoastLine: How Medical Professionals are Adjusting to the Spike in Opioid Abuse


Thursday morning, North Carolina state legislators, including Representative Ted Davis, Junior (R-New Hanover County) and Senator Bill Rabon (R-Brunswick County), held a press conference to announce the introduction of the STOP Act.  It’s legislation intended to address the opioid epidemic in North Carolina by "ensuring smarter prescribing and dispensing of highly-addictive prescription drugs", according to bill sponsors.  The bill would also provide funding for treatment and recovery. 

According to statistics provided by the bill sponsors,  there is one opioid prescription written for each man, woman and child in North Carolina. That’s more than 705 million pain pills prescribed to North Carolinians in total.   Four North Carolinians die from overdose each day, while 36 are hospitalized and 64 are taken to the ER.  Drug overdose is now the number one cause of accidental death, beating car crashes.  And one out of every 100 babies born in this state is born addicted to opioids.

And here’s the basic conundrum:  how can the medical community effectively treat pain without unwittingly perpetuating the problem?  

On this edition of CoastLine, we hear from medical professionals about promising alternatives, changing medical practices, and options available for pregnant women – and the babies who are born addicted.


Dr. Wolfgang Liedtke is a tenured professor of neurology, anesthesiology, and neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham. He's also a scientist-physician, in charge of his own basic science laboratory in the department of neurology.  And he is an Attending Physician at both the Duke Neurology Clinics for Headache, Head-Pain and Trigeminal Sensory Disorders at Morreene Road and the Duke Clinics for Innovative Pain Therapy at Brier Creek of the Department of Anesthesiology. 

Dr. Joseph Pino, physician and the Vice President of Graduate Medical Education at New Hanover Regional Medical Center and Executive Director of Southeast Area Health Education Center (SEAHEC)

Barbara Buechler, Administrator for the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Betty H. Cameron Women’s and Children’s Hospital  



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