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Powerful pain relievers killed more than 1,000 in NC

Opioid-related deaths in North Carolina increased 73 percent from 2005-15, newly released data show.

Opioids, powerful prescription pain relievers, caused the deaths of 1,100 people in 2015, according to information from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

That’s up from 642 a decade before.

Several counties saw a surge in deaths, including coastal Pender County, which jumped from one death in 2005 to 14 in 2015, for a 1,300 percent increase. No county saw a larger jump.

Sixty-one people died from opioids in Mecklenburg County in 2015, up from 25 a decade before.

Union County saw a 100 percent increase, from nine deaths in 2005 to 18 in 2015.

In announcing the new data, Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday said opioid deaths “will require a new level of collaboration between law enforcement, treatment-providers, and those in recovery.”

Cooper’s proposed budget will provide up to $14 million to fight opioid addiction. Cooper recently joined a national bi-partisan commission to address the crisis.

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