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There are positive signs in the Cape Fear region that initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic are making headway. 

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While the opioid crisis continues to plague the Cape Fear region and the state, there are signs that recent initiatives are helping.  

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It was 2013 that Dr. William Johnstone came to work as a Professor in the Obstetrics and Gynecology residency program at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. It didn’t take long for him to see the devastating consequences from the opioid epidemic firsthand – although back then, the community was not yet talking about it. 

One hospital administrator tells WHQR the numbers of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome went from about 35 in 2010 to between 120 to 140 by 2016.  Officials expect those numbers to continue rising.