NC to receive $12 million grant to fight opioid epidemic

North Carolina will receive a $12 million grant to continue its fight against the opioid epidemic, Governor Roy Cooper announced on Tuesday. The funds will be used for prevention, access to treatment and improved linkages to care. 

“The opioid crisis harms families, communities and our economy and we’re tackling it head-on to save lives,” said Governor Cooper in a written statement released on Tuesday. “This grant will help prevent overdose deaths and expand access to treatment, which provides a path to recovery.”

This new award comes in addition to $54 million already received from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. To date, the total funding has provided treatment for 12,000 North Carolinians suffering from opioids. 

This latest grant will continue treatment for people already receiving it and expand care to new people. The funding will also help bolster prevention strategies across the state and build mechanisms to connect individuals to care. 

An estimated 450,000 North Carolinians, 1 out of every 20, are living with an opioid use disorder. Over the past 20 years, more than 12,000 North Carolinians have died from an opioid overdose. In 2018 alone, there were 6,769 emergency visits due to opioid overdoses. Approximately half of people who are hospitalized with an opioid overdose do not have health insurance.

Opioid use disorder is a chronic disease, which requires significant, specialized interventions. 

Like diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers, opioid use disorder requires long-term treatment, which can be quite costly. Stigma, access to treatment providers, and an inability to pay for treatment keep individuals from obtaining the care they need to live, rejoin the workforce, and support their families and communities. 

North Carolina’s Opioid Action Plan lays out key strategies to achieve reducing the oversupply of prescription opioids and increasing treatment and community awareness.