For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Contact: Nazneen Ahmed
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today released the following statement on National Fentanyl Awareness Day (May 9).
“Today, I’m thinking about the thousands of North Carolinians who have lost their lives to a fentanyl overdose and about their family and friends left grieving. May their memories be blessings.
“Eight North Carolinians die every day on average because of this deadly and highly addictive drug. We must do more to save lives. That means using the hundreds of millions in funding I secured in the National Opioids Settlement to get help for people struggling with addiction and preventing drug traffickers and dealers from getting and selling fentanyl in the first place.”
Attorney General Stein has led negotiations to secure $50 billion nationally in litigation against drug companies that helped to create and fuel the opioid crisis, of which North Carolina’s share is $1.4 billion. North Carolina’s state and local governments started receiving their first payments from the $26 billion agreement with the three largest drug distributors and Johnson & Johnson. Additional funds will come from $21 billion in settlements with CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Allergan, and Teva.
Attorney General Stein has been leading statewide efforts to address the fentanyl epidemic, including:
- Seeking funding from the legislature to create a Fentanyl Control Unit within the Department of Justice to help local district attorneys handle large-scale fentanyl trafficking, wiretap, and overdose cases.
- Working with Sen. Tom McInnis to draft the Stop Counterfeit Pill Act (SB206), which updates North Carolina law to address pill presses and the counterfeit pills containing fentanyl, methamphetamine, or other dangerous drugs. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and is now in the House of Representatives.
- Working with Rep. Hugh Blackwell and others to draft the Novel Opioid Control Act (HB258), which passed the House unanimously and will update state law to protect North Carolinians from nitazines, a class of opioids 40 times more powerful than fentanyl.
- Renovating the Drug Chemistry and Toxicology sections of the State Crime Lab to allow scientists to swiftly and efficiently test evidence critical to law enforcement investigations.