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Governor Cooper Talks Opioid Crisis As September Is Declared Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month

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Matt Bush BPR
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September will be Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery month in North Carolina.  Governor Roy Cooper signed the proclamation designating alcohol and drug addiction recovery month at Vaya Health in Asheville.  The organization helps connect people with health insurance, including for addiction and recovery, something the governor says is crucial in a state where the opioid crisis is growing.  “A lot of people know vaguely of the opioid crisis but they don’t understand the depth of it.  That almost four people a day are dying in North Carolina (from overdoses).  It’s causing significant problems.  Many people are getting familiar with it unfortunately because people they know die or people they know having substance abuse disorder.”

The governor helped assemble Narcan kits at the facility.  Narcan is the brand name for a nasal spray that’s administered to those who’ve overdosed on opioids.  Its use has become the preferred action for first responders who encounter overdoses.  Governor Cooper spoke with a handful of people before the event recovering from opioid addiction who say the spray saved their lives.  "One person had been revived with Narcan four times.  He was on death’s door four times.   But now he has been in recovery for years and has a productive life.”

12-hundred Narcan kits were assembled at Vaya as part of the governor’s visit.  To put that number in perspective, Buncombe County authorities responded to more than 12-hundred overdoses cases alone in the first five months of this year. 

Matt Bush joined Blue Ridge Public Radio as news director in August 2016. Excited at the opportunity the build up the news service for both stations as well as help launch BPR News, Matt made the jump to Western North Carolina from Washington D.C. For the 8 years prior to coming to Asheville, he worked at the NPR member station in the nation's capital as a reporter and anchor. Matt primarily covered the state of Maryland, including 6 years of covering the statehouse in Annapolis. Prior to that, he worked at WMAL in Washington and Metro Networks in Pittsburgh, the city he was born and raised in.