North Carolina’s legislature is on its way toward passing a bill called the STOP Act, which would limit the number of prescription painkillers available to patients.
As the opioid addiction epidemic continues to grip the state (Wilmington was recently ranked the top city in the country for prescription pill abuse), researchers have noticed that reliance on pills has led to a spike in heroin. Heroin is usually cheaper than prescription painkillers but gives a similar high; they both can be deadly.
In fact the main sponsor of the bill, Greenville Republican Rep. Greg Murphy, has been promoting the legislation with a fairly shocking statistic.
Four North Carolinians die every day from drug overdoses, Murphy says.
PolitiFact North Carolina looked into that claim and found that opioids (both pills and heroin) are responsible for most of North Carolina’s drug overdose deaths – but that Murphy’s stats are a bit inflated.
And the connection between pills and heroin is truly there, according to the fact-check. One UNC researcher said that "When we talk to people who are injecting heroin, they all got there through prescription opioids. It's not some of them. It's all of them."
PolitiFact North Carolina
Speaker: Rep. Greg Murphy
Statement: “Every day, four North Carolinians die from a medication or drug overdose.”
Ruling: Drug overdoses do kill basically four people (technically, 3.5) per day in North Carolina, but the bill Murphy is trying to get passed with this legislation would address only opioids, which are responsible for either 2 or 3 deaths per day, depending on which drugs you count. Either way, his point stands that prescription painkillers are increasingly deadly. We rate this claim Mostly True.