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Stanly no longer in top 10 in opioid overdoses

Stanly County no longer leads the state when it comes to opioid overdoses. In fact, the county is not even in the top 10.

In April, Stanly was not mentioned in the 10 counties that had the highest overdoses showing up in hospital emergency rooms. According to data released by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, the top 10 counties were Surry, Randolph, Davidson, Harnett, Moore, Buncombe, Cumberland, Alamance, Guilford and Cabarrus.

Stanly was the top county in March and led the state in overdoses for many months last year.

Stanly had six people overdose in April, down from the 12 people who overdosed in March. Stanly also only had only one person overdose from heroin in April, down from seven in March.

“Our numbers have tapered off which can occur for a variety of reasons,” Jennifer Layton, human services program specialist at the Stanly County Department of Public Health, said in an email. “It is impossible to predict if these numbers will continue to decrease. To make any predictions would be premature because overdoses are a symptom of a much larger issue.”

So far, 24 people in Stanly have overdosed from January to April of this year, compared to 23 who overdosed during the same period last year.

White people accounted for roughly 85 percent of overdoses in Stanly, compared to about 15 percent of black people. Individuals ages 25-34 accounted for almost 40 percent of the overdoses, while those ages 35-44 accounted for almost 30 percent of overdoses.

In North Carolina, there were 552 overdose visits to hospital emergency rooms in April, 43 less overdoses than in March. The sum was slightly less than last year’s total of 563 for the same month.

Layton emphasized the need for the county to come together to offer services for those affected by substance abuse.

“Until our broader community has access to the services needed to prevent substance use disorders, access to appropriate treatment programs and better coordination of care, we will continue to see these numbers ebb and flow over time,” Layton said.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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