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Opioid Overdoses Continue To Rise In Buncombe County

N.C. Public Division Of Health

The opioid crisis is affecting all of the U.S., and Western North Carolina in particular.  And it is showing no signs of slowing down in the region's most populous county.  In the first 8 months of 2017, 230 visits to emergency departments were reported in Buncombe County, as opposed to just 84 during the same time frame last year.  Mountain Xpress reporter Dan Hesse has been examining the opioid crisis extensively in Buncombe County.  He joined BPR's Matt Bush in studio to discuss the numbers in detail and what is fueling the increase, and what Buncombe County commissioners and public safety officials want to do to bring the number down.  They also talked about the latest regarding medicinal marijuana policy in the county, an issue that is splitting the county board of commissioners even as some residents say it offers a 'healthier alternative' to opioid painkillers.

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.
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