GREENSBORO, N.C. - North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein is urging the public to treat every day as "Drug Take Back Day."
He wants you to go to your medicine cabinet and safely dispose of any unwanted, unused, or expired prescription medications in your home.
"The opioid crisis is the gravest public health and public health safety crisis we are facing," said Josh Stein, North Carolina Attorney General. "We loss 2,000 North Carolinians last year to opioid overdose, which was a 25% increase over the previous year. We lost about 14 thousand people in the last 20 years, which is the deadliest drug epidemic we have ever experienced."
Attorney General Stein addressed the state's opioid crisis during the Fellowship Hall Legislative Breakfast on Wednesday in Greensboro.
Fellowship Hall is a private, not-for-profit treatment center committed to helping people who suffer from alcoholism and drug addiction.
During the Legislative Breakfast, Attorney General Stein acted as a guest speaker.
He focused on the importance of fighting the prescription opioid epidemic through education and awareness across the state.
"A critical part of solving the opioid epidemic is treatment," said Attorney General Stein. "There are tens of thousands of are neighbors who are struggling with addiction today. They need help getting clean and living the life that we all want."
The State is combating the opioid crisis through the Strengthen Opioid Misuse Prevention Act of 2017, also known as the STOP Act.
The STOP Act is a law intended to reduce the supply of unused, misused, and diverted opioids circulating in the state.
It also reduces "doctor shopping" and improves care by requiring prescribers to use tools and resources that help prevent inappropriate prescribing.
"We are making good progress on prevention, but we need to do more. We need to educate the general public about the disease," said Attorney General Stein. "We need to do a whole lot more on treatment. There are too many people who do not have health insurance and cannot afford the medication that they need in order to get healthy. There's a lot of innovative stuff going on in law enforcement.They are trying to move more people who are sick with addiction out of the criminal justice system and into the healthcare system."
The Attorney General's Office wants families and individuals suffering with opioid addiction to know there is hope.
"More people live a life of recovery than live in addiction," said Attorney General Stein. "It does not always take the first time. This is a chronic and very challenging disease."