County to apply for $1M opioid response grant

Published 9:15 am Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Human Services Program Specialist Jennifer Layton reported to county commissioners the Health Department’s intent to apply for a Rural Communities Opioid Response Program Implementation grant.

“The grant is funded through the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy,” said Layton, who noted the $1 million grant would require no local match.

Layton identified several primary objectives of the grant, including strengthening of efforts toward prevention of opioid abuse, prevention of future overdoses, elimination of stigma placed on those suffering from substance abuse disorders, removal of barriers to care for the uninsured and improvement of counseling and therapy services for those in recovery.

“There will be very few unallowable costs, and if we receive the grant the county will receive funding up front,” Layton said during the county’s meeting Monday night.

She said the grant’s primary focus will be on providing services to the uninsured.

“There will be 75 grant awards nationwide,” said Layton, who noted a number of factors that will strengthen Stanly County’s application.

“First, we have been building a comprehensive response to this crisis for over four years, and we are ready to launch programs with partner agencies,” she added. “The 2018 data (from the recently-completed Community Health Assessment) is dramatic, and illustrates that we are a high-need area. And there is the potential to develop models for other rural communities from what we implement here.”

Key findings of the Community Health Assessment were that respondents identified drug abuse, tobacco use and obesity as the three major health problems facing county residents.

The board unanimously approved the motion to submit the grant application.

In other business, commissioners:

• Awarded a two-year contract for catering of the county’s Senior Nutrition Program to Golden Corral Restaurant of Lexington, which submitted the low bid of the three responding food service agencies;

• Tabled action on community-based water main extensions in the western area of the county;

• Approved entering into a management services agreement with the Pfeiffer-North Stanly Water Association;

• Authorized the negotiation of a special order of consent with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to enable the county to address overflow issues at the West Stanly Wastewater Treatment Plant;

• Proclaimed May 2, 2019 as the National Day of Prayer.

Commissioners are scheduled to participate in a joint meeting with the Stanly County School Board on Tuesday.