Atrium Health Joins Coalition to Help End North Carolina’s Opioid Epidemic

04.04.2019 Atrium Health News

More Powerful NC is a coalition of organizations including the N.C. Department of Justice, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Atrium Health, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and many others, to raise awareness around the devastating impact of the opioid crisis in North Carolina and together, we can all help play a part in ending the epidemic. CHARLOTTE, N.C., April 4, 2019 – Attorney General Josh Stein, along with NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina CEO Patrick Conway, Atrium Health President and CEO Eugene A. Woods, and a bipartisan coalition of public and private partners, today announced the launch of More Powerful NC, a public education campaign to prevent and confront opioid addiction by empowering people to fight against addiction in their communities.

“The opioid epidemic is ripping through North Carolina and leaving a trail of sick and grieving people in its wake,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “That is why I am so proud to have brought together this diverse and passionate public-private partnership. More Powerful NC will raise awareness of addiction and hopefully spur action in local communities. I want people all over this state to appreciate that together, we are more powerful than this epidemic.”

“Opioid addiction has had a devastating impact on our state, and we continue to urgently address this crisis,” said NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy K. Cohen, MD. “We’ve made progress, but there is still much work to be done to educate people about the dangers of opioids, prevent addiction, and expand access to treatment.”

“As the heartbroken mom of a wonderful young man who lost his life to an opioid overdose, I know that providing education and resources to help prevent the misuse of these potential lethal drugs is the only way forward,” said Debbie Dalton, founder of the Hunter Dalton HD Life Foundation. “The More Powerful NC campaign is crucial to turning the tide on the escalating number of opioid deaths in North Carolina.”

More Powerful NC’s website,, provides people with facts about the epidemic, information about addiction treatment and recovery, and suggestions for ways to get involved. Specifically, the website includes toolkits for parents, educators, coaches, local government officials, and others to help people take action in their own communities.

“We’re here today because it’s our moment to collectively act on what’s become one of the most important health and social issues of our time,” said Eugene A. Woods, president and CEO of Atrium Health. “Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death among Americans younger than 50 – a stat that our frontline clinicians at Atrium Health know all too well. None of us can solve an issue this monumental alone, and that’s why we’re especially proud to lead in this new collaboration. Together, we can make a difference for our friends, family, and neighbors in North Carolina – ultimately leading by example for the nation.”

“We recognize the seriousness of the opioid epidemic in North Carolina and the impact it has not only on the person who’s dealing with the addiction, but also their families, friends, and loved ones,” said Patrick Conway, MD, president and CEO of Blue Cross NC. “As a company with a mission of improving the health and well-being of all North Carolinians, we are committed to helping solve this public health crisis. Thank you to the NC Department of Justice for understanding the urgency of this issue and bringing our organizations together to raise our voices and share important resources.”

The campaign includes TV, radio, outdoor, and digital ads that encourage people to safely dispose of unneeded prescription medication and to talk to their doctors about alternatives to opioids for treating pain.

In addition to the lead sponsors named above, the coalition also includes UNC Health Care, LabCorp, the Carolina Hurricanes, the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, and the North Carolina Department of Insurance. Dozens of other partners, including the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, the North Carolina Healthcare Association, the North Carolina League of Municipalities, the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, the North Carolina Chamber, the North Carolina Bankers Association, the North Carolina High School Athletics Association, Addiction Professionals of North Carolina, and the Alcohol and Drug Council of North Carolina, among others, have signed on as partners in support of the campaign.

About Atrium Health
Atrium Health, previously Carolinas HealthCare System, one of the nation's leading and most innovative healthcare organizations, provides a full spectrum of healthcare and wellness programs throughout the Southeast region. Its diverse network of care locations includes academic medical centers, hospitals, freestanding emergency departments, physician practices, surgical and rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, nursing homes and behavioral health centers, as well as hospice and palliative care services. Atrium Health works to enhance the overall health and well-being of its communities through high-quality patient care, education and research programs, and numerous collaborative partnerships and initiatives.