STATESVILLE, N.C. - North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said the state and the country are failing in their efforts to end the opioid crisis because part of the problem is that only one out of 10 people addicted to opioids get adequate treatment in the Tar Heel state.
Some patients drive 50 miles to get to an addiction recovery center in Statesville.
The attorney general said that they need more facilities like that to dig out of the opioid crisis.
Dr. Bobby Kearny treats 500 patients fighting addiction at Addiction Medical Services
Many of his patients suffer from an opioid-use disorder.
A team of 64 employees, including nurse practitioners, counselors, toxicologists and security guards, treat up to 250 patients a day.
"It takes a village for these people," Kearny said.
They don't lose sight of an underlying message.
"They're here to help people and they know that it's all about love," Kearny said.
There are only 67 treatment centers like that in North Carolina. There are 100 counties in the state.
Kearny administers methadone and buprenorphine, which are medicines designed to wean a patient off opioids.
Stein believes that is the best option for treatment but said most can't get that treatment.
"People want help,” Stein said. “They need help but the help is just not there."
That’s part of the reason he's supporting the Hope Act, which is a bill that could go before the General Assembly and provide $10 million for addiction and recovery centers.
Stein said even law enforcement supports it.
"You have law enforcement saying we need you to help people get healthy, so they'll stop committing crimes," Stein said.
Stein and Kearny said education is the other key factor.
Most victims of the opioid crisis are still shunned in the community.
“We can't have these throwaways in our society,” Kearny said. “We have to stand by them. We have to love them."
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