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North Carolina has higher than average overdose death rates. Nearly all of these deaths involve prescription opioid pain relievers (like methadone, and oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine, tramadol, or hydromorphone, collectively called "other and synthetic narcotics" in the NC graph below).
"In 2008, drug overdoses in the United States caused 36,450 deaths. Opioid pain relievers were involved in 14,800 deaths (73.8%) of the 20,044 prescription drug overdose deaths. Overall, the unintentional drug poisoning death rate has been rising in recent years and more than doubled between 1999 and 2007." Read more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Most of these deaths are unintentional, meaning that the individual did not mean to take a lethal dose (17% were of overdoses were suicides in NC in 2010).
These medications are important tools to help those with chronic pain and those who have cancer and other serious illnesses. However, when used incorrectly, these medications can end a life. At Project Lazarus we strive to recorrect the balance between the use of the medications and the unintended consequences of their misuse and abuse.
Our investigations have revealed that many of those dying are pain patients who may not have gotten or understood the instructions from their doctors or pharmacists. Others who have died may have been abusing drugs that they got from their friends. Nobody deserves to die of an overdose, regardless of where the drugs came from. Read more about the principle of balance.
NC and US Drug Overdose Mortality Rates (2003-2010) by Project Lazarus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
NC Substances Involved in Overdose Deaths by Project Lazarus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
NC Overdose Deaths by Intent 2010 by Project Lazarus is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Visit the Project Lazarus blog for regularly updated news and events related to overdose prevention and chronic pain management.