NCDHHS says that between 2000 and 2022, more than 36,000 North Carolinians lost their lives to drug overdose.



There could be some relief coming to rural areas in North Carolina that continue to deal with the opioid crisis. Better treatment options are some of the benefits of Medicaid expansion, according to Kody Kinsley, the secretary of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Kinsley described overdose losses as “deaths of despair” — saying they often occur when people are struggling with mental illness, lack social connection or have a negative life event such as a job loss.

He says many people who could not get treatment in the past will now be able to do so through the Medicaid expansion that began last week. He says with the right care and support, they can reconnect with those around them.

“They’re working again, they’re taking care of their families, they’re paying taxes, they’re supporting their rural communities and they’re making it vibrant,” he says.

Kinsley says there’s another benefit to getting rural residents with drug addictions medical help under Medicaid: it will take a burden off local law enforcement. [source]