NC awarded $31M grant to fight opioid crisis - | WBTV Charlotte

NC awarded $31M grant to fight opioid crisis

Govenor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein announced Thursday that North Carolina will receive a $31 million grant to help fight the opioid epidemic in the state. (Source: WECT) Govenor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein announced Thursday that North Carolina will receive a $31 million grant to help fight the opioid epidemic in the state. (Source: WECT)
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RALEIGH, NC (WECT) -

Governor Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein announced Thursday that North Carolina will receive a $31 million grant to help fight the opioid epidemic in the state. 

Newly released data shows there has been a 73 percent increase in opiate-related deaths from 2005 to 2015.

According to WRAL, the state will receive $15.5 million for two consecutive years, with 20 percent of the funds going to addiction prevention efforts. 

“Opioid addiction is devastating families across the nation,” Cooper said in a statement earlier in the week. “This is a uniquely challenging crisis for our communities and will require a new level of collaboration between law enforcement, treatment providers, and those in recovery."

"Opioids are tearing apart families, ruining lives and taking lives all across North Carolina," Stein told WRAL. "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 breeding misery and death in our state."

Coastal Horizons helps treat those affected by opioid addiction in the Wilmington area and across North Carolina. 

President and CEO Margaret Weller-Stargell said the grant will help them better treat those affected locally. 

“It's not just the person on the street that’s using heroin. It’s the number of people that are addicted to prescription medication," said Weller-Stargell. "We have seen a rise in that nationally, and we have certainly seen that here in Wilmington. We also want to be able to take this outside of New Hanover County and bring that treatment into more neighboring counties.”

Weller-Stargell also said Cooper stressed the importance of working together and continued funding to fix the problem. Something she agrees with. 

“I think if we all get together collaboratively, having all stakeholders buying into this, be it the hospitals, law enforcement, legislators, providers like coastal horizons, we can tackle this issue, but we all have to do it together," she said. 

This announcement comes on the heels of eight agencies in the Wilmington area coming together to implement the LEAD program in the Port City. The goal of the program is to get addicts the help needed to stop using drugs. The District Attorney will sign off on all LEAD cases.

“What we want to do is connect people with care they need to have a successful health outcome,” said Robert Childs, director of the NC Harm Reduction Coalition. “Because we know if we don’t connect them with care, they may be in and out of the criminal justice system, and also more likely to commit basic crimes of need and poverty. And so we want to be able to connect them with the services they need to have a successful outcome and a healthier community in Wilmington.”

Copyright 2017 WECT. All rights reserved. 

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