North Carolina is a recipient of more than $31 million to address the opioid crisis through the 21st Century Cures Act, State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants.
North Carolina experienced a 73 percent spike in opioid-related deaths between 2005 and 2015. Opioid overdose also claimed the lives of more than 13,000 North Carolinians between 1999 and 2015, and four North Carolina cities rank among the nation’s worst for opioid abuse.
“The opioid crisis is one of the biggest challenges we face across our state,” Gov. Cooper said. “This grant will help further our commitment to fight this epidemic that is destroying families and lives across our state. This is a problem we must solve for the safety and well-being of our citizens. Our families, friends and neighbors need our help.”
The grant will be used to increase access to prevention, treatment and recovery supports, reducing unmet treatment need, and reducing opioid-related overdoses and deaths. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded the grant to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
The Cures Act provides up to $1 billion in grants spread among states and territories over the next two years, beginning in fiscal year 2017. North Carolina will receive $15,586,724 in the first year. Eighty percent of those funds must target outreach, engagement, treatment and recovery services.
The funds will serve 1,460 individuals in the first year and 1,520 in the second, providing services to a total of 2,980 over the two-year span. This would represent an 18 percent increase in the number of patients currently being served in the 54 private and publicly funded opioid treatment programs.
“This grant is an important piece of our comprehensive approach to support individuals with opioid use disorders in their treatment and recovery efforts,” said DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “In addition to the grant, more resources are still needed to increase access to prevention, treatment and recovery supports, and eliminate opioid-related overdoses and deaths.”
“We have got to do more to prevent people from becoming addicted, treat people who are addicted and enforce our laws aggressively against the drug traffickers who are bringing misery and death in our state,” said Attorney General Stein. “There are hundreds of thousands of people in North Carolina with all types of addiction who need help reclaiming their lives – but only 1 out of 10 receive any treatment. We wouldn’t accept a health care system that doesn’t treat 90 percent of people with heart disease, with diabetes or AIDS. We shouldn’t accept it with substance use disorder. This grant will help us treat addiction, prevent addiction and save lives.”
The announcement was made Thursday to health care providers and other mental health professionals gathered at SouthLight Healthcare, a substance abuse treatment facility in Raleigh.
The grant builds on the collaborative work already being done across the state to fight the opioid epidemic. The battle includes efforts by consumers, family members, care and treatment providers, Local Management Entities-Managed Care Organizations, local health departments, law enforcement, medical facilities, emergency responders and others.
Governor Cooper’s 2017-2018 budget proposal includes more than $12 million in funding to address the opioid crisis. This will provide services including individual and group therapy, coupled with medications, to serve approximately 2,500 individuals statewide. It also includes $2 million for local law enforcement efforts to fight opioid abuse.
Individuals can get help by contacting their LME/MCO for assistance with treatment or recovery. To find out which LME/MCO serves your county, visit ncdhhs.gov.