North Carolina

North Carolina has played a significant role in the formation of America. It has stood out time and time again, from being home to some of the first American colonies to being the site of the Wright Brothers’ first successful heavier-than-air flight test at Kitty Hawk. While it was an agricultural strength for most of its history and dealt in crops like tobacco, today North Caroline is changing into a leader in engineering, biochemistry and many other high-tech fields.

However, North Carolina is also keeping pace with the rest of the country in terms of its drug abuse problems. The state has continued to have difficulty with ever-present meth labs. Law enforcement seized and destroyed 395 of them in 2011 alone. 

North Carolina Drug Use Statistics

The drug use statistics for North Carolina are:

  • Approximately 8.88  percent of North Carolina residents admit to using illegal drugs in the past month, while the national average is lower at only 8.82 percent of Americans in general. This means the state is almost exactly on par with the rest of the country.
  • The number of North Carolina residents that die as a direct result of their drug use is also very similar to the national average. In North Carolina, 13 out of every 100,000 people die as a direct result of using drugs, whereas the national average 12.8 people per 100,000.

The Drug Problem in North Carolina  

Drugs are a problem in the United States in general and in North Carolina in particular.  The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) conducts annual surveys to gather information on the drug use of Americans. These surveys focus on:

  • Marijuana
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Inhalants
  • Stimulants
  • Hallucinogens
  • Sedatives
  • Tranquilizers
  • Nonmedical use of prescription pain killing drugs.

North Carolina is one of the largest states in America with a population nearing 10 million.  While North Carolina is not immune from the nation’s drug problem, its residents should be glad to know that their state ranks in the lowest third of states when it comes to drug use.  Between 7 and 8 percent of North Carolina residents aged 12 and older answered yes to the question of had they used illicit drugs in the month prior to the NSDUH survey.  The states with the highest amount of drug use come in at 12%, while the lowest fall between 5.2 and 6 percent.

By individual drug, North Carolina ranks relatively low for marijuana, cocaine, and drugs other than marijuana.  The one category where the state is closer to the national average is nonmedical use of pain relievers.  Roughly 4.5 percent of those surveyed said they had used a prescription medication for non-medical purposes in the 30 days prior to being surveyed.

In 2013 the state offered programs for citizens to turn in any prescription drugs that they had in their homes that were no longer needed.  Operation Medicine Drop was started to help cut down on prescription drug abuse that is a problem throughout the United States, and to cut down on environmental damage by encouraging the proper disposal of old drugs.  The events collected over 22 million doses of prescription medications in 2013.

The breakdown of the most common drugs of abuse in North Carolina are:

  • North Carolina has had several major changes in the rates at which different drugs are used in recent years.
  • Heroin is used at low levels in the state. It has moved up and down slightly, but it usually accounts for less than 10 Percent of all treatment admissions.
  • Marijuana has roller coasted up and down. After climbing in usage and number of treatment admissions between 1992 and 2001, the drug dropped in usage till 2006 and then shot back up again for two years. Now, it has been slowly declining in usage again for three straight years. Despite this, it is still responsible for more drug treatment admissions than any other drug in the state at a total of 30 percent.
  • Cocaine and crack are declining in usage and in treatment admissions. At just under 20 percent, they now account for less drug treatment admissions that at any recorded point in the state’s history.
  • While there are many labs busted, meth is used and treated for less often than the other drugs.

North Carolina Drug Treatment Sources & Resources North Carolina Drug Control Update –

The Daily Southerner: More Than 31 Pounds of Old Drugs Turned in During Operation Medicine Cabinet –