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The Changing Face of the Opioid Crisis


The Cape Fear Region has seen an increase in opioid use disorder, otherwise known as OUD. New Hanover County has plans to open a long-term treatment facility – for men.

People suffering from opioid use disorder contribute to jail overflows. That’s why New Hanover County Commissioners committed to funding a Trillium Health Resources facility in 2016

According to a Trillium Health spokesperson, the facility will be “for men dealing with addiction to any drugs or alcohol” and that Trillium “will still maintain an agreement with Healing Transitions in Raleigh to serve any females in need."

But the face of the opioid crisis is changing. Dr. William Johnstone is a Professor in the Obstetrics and Gynecology residency program at New Hanover Regional Medical Center:

“Until recently, the face of the person with opioid use disorder was a white male using opiates. In the last couple of years, it’s still about equal so far as males and females go, but women have overtaken men by a few percentage points.” 

Other county funding for the opioid crisis in the proposed 2018-2019 budget is $265,000 for LINC treatment diversion program, for both men and women, and just over $315,000 for TIDES, Inc., Dr. Johnstone’s new nonprofit to treat pregnant women dependent on opioids.