Stanly County commissioners approve allocating $101,000 in opioid settlement funds to Nazareth Child and Family Connections 

As part of the national opioid settlement reached in 2021 with several big-name drug distributors, Stanly County has already received roughly $614,000 to help blunt the ongoing opioid epidemic. The county projects to receive an additional $312,000 sometime this summer.

With the funding the county has received, the Stanly County Board of Commissioners approved an opioid funding appropriation resolution Monday night to allocate $101,465 for evidence-based addiction treatment services via the Nazareth Child and Family Connections for a period of 12 months. It would begin June 1 and run through May 31, 2024. The resolution was recommended by the Stanly County Health and Human Services Board.

Nazareth, which is based in Rockwell and has a location in Salisbury, offers programs including providing residential services for children in foster care, transitional housing for young adults and day treatment for elementary and middle school children.

Since 2019, Nazareth has partnered with the Stanly County Health Department in providing opioid use disorder treatments through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant the health department received in 2019 and which went into effect in 2020. The $1 million grant expires at the end of May.

The health department has served 40 people thanks to the HRSA grant, Wendy Growcock, health educator with the department, told the commissioners.

“Once that funding ends, if we don’t have another funding source for that treatment, then we would not have the means to continue to pay and send folks to them,” County Manager Andy Lucas said.

In a letter to the commissioners earlier this month, Jann Lowder, chair of the Health and Human Services Board, wrote that $73,432 of the Nazareth funds would go towards “12 months of clinical consultation, drug screening and counseling for eight qualifying individuals” and the remaining $28,032 would go towards “12 month of Buprenorphine / Naloxone sublingual film” for eight qualifying individuals.

“Opioid settlement funds for Medication-Assisted Treatment/Medications for Opioid Use Disorder are important to continue the lifesaving work that has reduced opioid overdoses in Stanly County,” Lowder wrote.

Growcock was appreciative of the commissioners approving the Nazareth funding.

“We do have several patients that are currently being funded through HRSA, and so we want to be able to definitely continue services with them,” she told the Stanly News & Press Tuesday afternoon. “And I’m very glad that the commissioners thought so also.”

About half of the $614,436 the county has received ($302,034) has been allocated to four organizations across the county, according to the commissioners’ agenda packet. Gateway of Hope has received $60,000 for a period lasting from September 2022 until the end of August; Will’s Place has received $45,000 from November 2022 through the end of October; Uwharrie Harm Reduction Initiative has received $59,405 from January until the end of December; and Stanly EMS’s community paramedics have received $137,629 from January until the end of December.

Stanly County is expected receive close to $4.7 million over an 18-year period from the opioid settlement reached between Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen and McKesson and the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson and several states, including North Carolina.

North Carolina is slated to receive about $758 million over the 18 years, 85 percent of which will go to counties and local municipalities.