STOP Act takes effect to help reduce opioid crisis in North Carolina

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – As the clock struct midnight and the world rang in 2018, the STOP Act was taking effect in North Carolina.

The act, largely written by doctor and Pitt County Rep. Greg Murphy, was passed unanimously by the North Carolina General Assembly in 2017.

“This is an attempt to limit how opioids are prescribed,” said Murphy.

Beginning Monday, the STOP Act limited how many opioids could be prescribed to patients in the state. For those suffering from acute pain, doctors could only write a 5-day supply of opioids. For those who had just had surgery, doctors could write a 7-day supply. After that, additional prescriptions would be handled on an individual basis.

The STOP Act also sets up an electronic database, which Murphy said will hopefully cut down on doctor shopping.

“Every time a prescription is written for an opioid it’s going to go into something called a controlled substance reporting system,” he said.

The act was passed in North Carolina to help save thousands of lives of people who could overdose. The opioid crisis impacts people from all walks of life, including ECU students.

“You’re going to either end up dead or in jail, and I told him that point blank,” said ECU senior Kevin Kuhl, who lost his best friend to an overdose in 2016.

Josh Whitlock, a student at ECU and Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity member, overdosed on heroin in Wilmington.

“He overdosed in the Costco parking lot, and they found his body three days later,” Kuhl said.

Kuhl said he is hopeful the STOP Act can help prevent another death like his friends.

The brothers of Alpha Sigma Phi will hold the 2nd annual Jam out for Josh event on January 14th at Pantana Bob’s in Uptown Greenville to remember Whitlock. The event starts at 10 p.m., and will feature the band “The Embers.” Tickets are $10, and all money raised will go to help the Wilmington recovery center that Whitlock used.

Kuhl said they hope to raise $10,000 through the event and this GoFundMe page.

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