What is Blue Cross NC Doing to Battle the Epidemic?

Need Help Now?

Call 1-800-662-4357

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Hotline

Blue Cross NC members, call the Mental Health number on the back of your ID card.

Get More Resources

First, What are Opioids?

An opioid is a synthetic substance that has similar, but not related, effects of substances called opiates. The most common opioids are medications used to treat pain.

If you have ever had a medical procedure, you may have been prescribed a type of opioid for pain management.

You may recall some of the more common drug brand names – Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Percocet.

We’re here to help you understand opioids better, learn about their use and possible misuse or abuse and discuss alternatives to treat long-term pain.

We also want to share what we are doing to battle the epidemic.

What are Signs of Possible Addiction?

prescription pills on the spilled counter
Possible signs or symptoms of opioid misuse or possible addiction include:1

  • Using more of the prescribed drugs or using them longer than intended

  • Using while doing something dangerous, such as driving

  • Using despite physical or mental problems

  • Using despite legal or social problems

  • Can’t control or cut down use

  • Spending lots of time finding drugs or recovering from use

  • Skipping or cut down important activities

  • Having a strong desire or urge to use

  • Becoming tolerant – In other words, need more of the drug or need to take it more often

  • Having withdrawals – The presence of physical symptoms when trying to stop

What to Ask Your Doctor Before Taking Opioids: A Checklist

What to Ask Your Doctor Before Taking Opioids: A Checklist

Opioids can have some very serious side effects. Use this checklist provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ask your health care provider questions before taking opioids

Download the Checklist (pdf)

How is Blue Cross NC Helping?


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Requiring providers to prescribe the safest options before progressing to stronger medications

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Providing opioids risk screening / education

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Participating in the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Payers’ Council to partner on pharmacy policies

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Partnering with the NC Medical Board to promote greater education


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Requiring prior authorization / quantity limits on all extended release opiates

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Contacting providers with significantly higher rates of opioids prescribing

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Monitoring for patients who “prescription shop” with multiple providers / pharmacies

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Alerting prescribers of high risk


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Coverage of addiction treatment

Coverage of non-drug pain management therapies (e.g., physical therapy, chiropractic care, aquatic therapy, steroid joint injections)

Medication-assisted therapy coverage

Covered telehealth options for behavioral health and substance abuse

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Network of substance abuse professionals and facilities

Medical policies/prior review to ensure appropriate treatment

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24-hour phone line for members to discuss opioids usage and get help with addiction

What Can You Do to Help?

In response to the Opioid Crisis in our state, Blue Cross NC is working with pharmacies and health care industry leaders to install medication drop-off points in almost every county. Help us keep our communities safe. Learn more about how you can store your prescriptions or dispose of them safely.

  • Don’t share your medication with family or friends.
  • Keep your medication in a locked box or cabinet. You can return unused opioid medications at any law enforcement office in North Carolina.
  • Drop off unused medications at any of our partner pharmacy locations listed below.

Inmar and NC Mutual Drop-Off Locations

What Do I Do If I Need Help?

Call: 1-800-662-4357

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Hotline

Blue Cross NC members, call the Mental Health number on the back of your ID card.

Find a Pain Management Provider

Log in to Blue Connect and use our Find a Doctor tool to search for the right provider for you.