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2015 Drug Trends in North Carolina

The 2015 drug trends in North Carolina continue to show that one drug continues to dominate the illegal market there, and that use of it has risen. Cocaine is the most heavily abused drug next to alcohol in North Carolina, but not just cocaine – crack cocaine. It is estimated that 70 to 80% of the powdered cocaine that comes into the state is turned into crack cocaine before being dispatched for sale on the street. 32% of all drug-related deaths were cocaine-related. The cocaine epidemic has not abated since it was first publically declared a statewide issue back in the late 90s. There are more drugs, more people using them, and more people suffering the consequences of drug use than ever before.

What illegal drugs are most common in North Carolina?

Crack cocaine is the most prominent illegal drug, followed by heroin and marijuana. Alcohol, which is legal in most counties, remains the most abused drug of all. While instances of persons reporting daily marijuana use are matching national trends, the per capita use of crack cocaine exceeds the national trends by 8%. Law professionals have analyzed statistics and reported a growing trend among teens and young adults in upper-income brackets of mixing heroin and cocaine. This mixture is most associated with the nightclub social arena and rave parties. There is prescription drug abuse in this state, but it is still below the national average per 100,000 people.

Where are the drugs coming from?

Most of the drugs entering North Carolina are originating out of the main distribution points of Miami, Atlanta, and New Jersey. Many of the drugs are trafficked here to take advantage of the drug markets driven by the fishing and oil industry. These two industries have some of the highest rates of abuse and drug-related accidental deaths and incidences. Many of the point drops for drugs in the Carolinas are expanding rapidly as drug use becomes more of a part of the under 35 culture throughout the state. Many drugs arrive by air and overland transport, although there is significant trafficking by sea as well.

What is the impact on North Carolina on illegal drugs?

For every 100,000 deaths in North Carolina, 12% of them are related to illegal drugs through overdose or reaction. While this is in keeping with the national average it does represent a rise in instances of drug-related deaths over the past 10 years. The continued use of crack cocaine and the rising influence of heroin are credited with the continued high numbers of drug-related deaths. In the past few years, there has been a rise in cases of overdose which may be related to a change in the purity levels of the heroin that is coming into the state. As heroin continues to become cheaper to produce, the quality is becoming stronger as there is no need to continue cutting its purity to maintain a profit margin. People who may be used to heroin of a particular dose will experience an overdose when ingesting the same amount, but better quality of the drug.

What about illegal prescription drug use?


There is not as strong a representation of illegal prescription drug use and opioid abuse in this state as in others, but the North Carolina rates remain among the higher end of the national average. Part of the reason that prescription drug abuse has not risen to the extent that it has in other states is the cost of the drugs and the fact that the dominating factor of the drug culture is a need for energy. The two primary industries with drug issues, fishing, and oil are strength and awareness dependent. The youth and young adult party culture also emphasizing constant wakefulness, which is more in keeping with amphetamine and cocaine abuse than with opioid abuse.

How does rehab and treatment help stop illegal drugs?

Area treatment centers are seeing a proportional rise in people seeking admission for drug addiction compared to the national trend. The more that recovery is promoted on an individual and community basis, the less the use of illegal drugs will be seen as acceptable. More community awareness of the cost of collateral damage and death to drug use will also help to begin to shift acceptance away from drugs. A tighter standard for industries that promote high demands on their workers can be accommodated with adequate recovery support as well.

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