The United States and the state of North Carolina are currently in the grips of an opioid crisis.  This is mostly due to prescription drug misuse, which is currently one of the fastest growing drug problems in the country. In 2016, almost 12 million people misused prescription opioids, and over 50,000 deaths (116 per day!) opioid overdose related deaths occurred. Opioids are substances that mimic endorphins (the body’s natural pain relievers) and include Heroin and prescription pain medications, such as Morphine, OxyContin, and Percocet

Some effects of opioids include:

  • death
  • heart infection
  • liver damage

Opioid withdrawal symptoms include:

  • cramping
  • diarrhea
  • shakiness


Health and Human Services: About the U.S. Opioid Epidemic


Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health: Opioids and Adolescents


National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens: Prescription Pain Medications (Opioids)