substance abuse

Lilly Knoepp

  Yesterday, we heard about a lack of homeless shelters between Waynesville and Murphy.  Today, we look at a similar gap in substance abuse treatment centers in the same 80-mile distance. In Macon County here is a new treatment facility that hopes to fill that gap:  

Hazelwood Healthcare sits along Highway 441 to Georgia just past Franklin. It opened this week. 

“This is where you come back.” 

Lilly Knoepp

The North Carolina General Assembly is back in session this week.  But it will not be taking up the vetoed state budget – meaning a major cut to mental health care providers in Western North Carolina will stay in place for now.

BPR talks to one local mental health provider about how this will impact the community: 

Lilly Knoepp

  While policymakers are working to change the laws around opioid prescriptions, local communities are working to educate parents about how to talk to their children.  

We head to the Bryson City library where a nonprofit is trying to educate parents about drugs.

Kaye McConnell of Renew Bryson City is taking parents around a bedroom she has set up in the auditorium of the Marianna Black Library.

“So do you like the vase?” asks McConnell.  “It’s a pretty bong.”

Lilly Knoepp

Prescription opioid abuse has been in the national spotlight this summer as new data about the numbers of prescriptions per county has been released. North Carolina is also part of national lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma for their role in the crisis. 

Lilly Knoepp

 For the first time ever, North Carolina’s seven westernmost counties met to discuss how to solve the opioid crisis.  BPR was at the summit in Bryson City.

For Graham County Commissioner Connie Orr, the issue is personal. Her son has been battling addiction since he was prescribed Vicodin at 15 years old. He’s now 51. 

“From that time until now my son has been fighting the addiction of opiates which has moved not only to opiates but to heroin, meth or any drug that is available right now,” says Orr. 

Hoarding $70 million in Medicaid money that should be spent on patients while spending lavishly on CEO pay and luxury board retreats. These are just some of the findings laid out in a state audit of Cardinal Innovations Healthcare. The company says the spending is justified.