Today We

tackle the opioid epidemic head-on to end this crisis.


North Carolina has the second-highest rate of opioid deaths in the nation.1 We’re committed to combatting this urgent problem.

On average, nearly four people in our state die every day from opioid overdoses. Just as shocking, the costs of these unintentional overdoses exceeded $1 billion in 2015.2 Blue Cross NC is tackling this crisis with a three-pronged approach:

Prevention We require health care providers to prescribe the safest prescription options available, offer opioid risk screening and education to Blue Cross NC members and partner with organizations like the N.C. Medical Board to reduce misuse.

Intervention We set caps on first-time prescriptions and require authorizations for more powerful medications, educate high-prescribing providers on best practices, and monitor patients who may be using opioids irresponsibly. Effective April 2018, we began limiting first-time prescriptions of short-acting opioids to a seven-day maximum supply. In the first quarter under the new policy, Blue Cross NC customers obtained about 375,000 fewer doses of opioids than the previous quarter.3

Treatment We cover several forms of addiction treatment, provide expanded telehealth options and a 24-hour member help line, and invest in proven community partners such as Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers (TROSA).

This one-of-a-kind, multi-year residential program empowers substance abusers to be productive members of society by providing education, jobs, continuing care and a place to call home. With work-based training at TROSA’s own companies—TROSA Moving, TROSA Lawn Care and TROSA Thrift and Frame Store—these resilient men and women gain the skills they need to transition into the job market.

Founded in Durham, TROSA will use our investment to expand to the Triad, improving access to its services across Western North Carolina. Helping more individuals recover and become healthier will lead our communities to become healthier, too. And once that happens, we all move closer to ending this crisis for good.

  1. “National Center for Health Statistics: Vital Statistics Rapid Release. Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts.” Centers for Disease Control. August 15, 2018. Accessed August 2018.
  2. “Opioid-Related Overdoses.” North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (June 2017). Accessed January 2018.
  3. Blue Cross NC Internal Data, 2018.
  4. Blue Cross NC Internal Data, 2018. Data reflects decline in prescriptions from 3rd quarter 2015 to 2nd quarter 2018.