Heroin deaths are sharply climbing in communities across North Carolina, which have experienced a nearly 900 percent increase in fatal heroin overdoses since 2010.
Authorities in the state say heroin use is more prevalent than people may realize, and it’s rooted in dependence on opiate-based painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin. Opioids have long been an issue in the state, claiming 603 lives in North Carolina in 2010, although heroin use is not historically a major problem. There were 16 times as many opioid deaths as heroin in 2010, which claimed 37 lives, reports The Mountaineer.
Heroin deaths increased by 884 percent between 2010 and 2015 in North Carolina, causing 364 fatalities.
“Heroin is cheaper than these pills are,” Haywood County Sheriff Greg Christopher told The Mountaineer. “They’re paying between $100 and $200 per day on their habit, and they realize that whoever they’re buying the pills from, they can also get heroin for a fraction of the cost.”