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Health Department to spend over $400,000 of grant money on medical services to combat opioid crisis

County commissioners learned how a $1 million grant the Health Department received will be spent Monday night.

The Health Department was one of three in the nation awarded a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The grant will be implemented over a three-year period from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31, 2022.

Stanly has led the state in opioid overdoses for several months over the last year.

More than $400,000 is budgeted for medical services and supplies. Another $305,000 will go to behavioral health services, almost $118,000 to behavioral health prescriptions (including Suboxone) and $14,400 to provide Naloxone (120 units a year) to the community.

Naloxone is a medication to prevent opioid overdoses while Suboxone is a medication to treat opioid addiction.

“It was our team’s goal to make sure that almost half of the budget went to these services because it’s what folks in our community need the most,” Human Services Program Specialist Jennifer Layton said.

A full-time staff member will be funded for both the Gateway of Hope Addiction Recovery Center and Will’s Place (roughly $170,000 each). The staff members will help navigate people to care, provide support when people complete treatment and help with job training and placement.

In order to try and prevent the opioid crisis from getting worse, the health department is working with the community to implement Naloxone and CPR trainings which will be conducted at Will’s Place. Upon completion, people can receive Naloxone kits.

Other actions include making sure recovery messaging for groups is uniform across the county. The department will create a comprehensive guide of resources and a referral process, provide local medical professionals SBIRT (screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment) training and educate on the STOP Act, which was passed in 2017 to prevent and reduce prescription opioid misuse.

Layton mentioned several activities in regards to treatment, including having at least one physician certified to serve 30 patients with medication-assisted treatment, trainings for MAT providers, training providers to screen for substance abuse disorders, strengthening detox and treatment networks and providing transportation to and from care. As for recovery, plans include peer support group development, transportation to care, linking uninsured people to additional services and providing AA meetings and job training to people in sober housing.

The commissioners also:

–Approved a property tax incentive for the expansion of a manufacturing company in Norwood, which will last five years, lead to an overall investment of $2 million and create 10 jobs.

–Approved an NCDOT resolution supporting funding to construct a roundabout at the intersection of N.C. Highway 205 and Big Lick/Liberty Hill Church Road.

–Agreed to close the portion of Coggins Road in the jurisdiction of the county so Culp Lumber Company can expand its facility and build a new entrance on U.S. Highway 52.

–Approved the appointments of Brian Simpson, Judy Ross, Jonathan Cranford, Michael Smith, Tammy Albertson, Michael Roark, Amy Yow and Adam Palmer to the Stanly County Community Child Protection Team/Child Fatality Prevention Team.

–Approved the Transportation Department to apply for fiscal year 2020-2021 Community Transportation Program funds totaling $436,683.

–Issued proclamations declaring September to be Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and Eligibility Workers’ Month.

The next meeting will be 6 p.m. Oct. 7.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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