Governor Roy Cooper has issued Executive Order No. 48, paving the way for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to immediately apply for $25 million in federal funding to combat the opioid epidemic in North Carolina.
“The opioid epidemic ravages physical and mental health, holds people back from education and careers, and tears families and communities apart,” said Gov. Cooper. “We must do even more to fight the opioid crisis in North Carolina, and these grants would help us make critical progress to prevent and treat opioid addiction and save lives.”
Based on the executive order, the NC Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will apply for approximately $22 million in federal funding through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s grant program.
DHHS would use these dollars to provide opioid prevention services, medication-assisted treatment and recovery support services to at least 5,000 North Carolinians. This funding would also allow the state to enhance efforts to combat overdoses by purchasing additional naloxone, a life-saving overdose reversal drug.
DHHS will also seek nearly $3 million in federal funding through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Cooperative Agreement for Emergency Response: Public Health Crisis Response. The department would use these funds to enhance the tracking and reporting of overdose-related data to enable state leaders and programs to better target and evaluate prevention strategies.
“These grants are important steps in fighting the opioid crisis,” said DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “But they are only part of the solution. We also need sustainable funding to close the coverage gap and increase access to affordable health insurance. Addiction is a chronic disease and people need access to care beyond the life of these grants.”
In fiscal year 2017-18, North Carolina provided opioid use treatment to more than 5,700 individuals– nearly four times the program’s first-year goal– through federal funding awarded by the 21st Century Cures Act, State-Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants.
The grants are part of North Carolina’s comprehensive Opioid Action Plan, adopted in 2017 to address the opioid crisis by coordinating state resources to reduce the oversupply of prescription opioids, reduce the diversion of prescription drugs and the flow of illicit drugs, increase community awareness and prevention, increase the availability of naloxone, expand treatment and recovery support, and measure the results and effectiveness of these strategies.