North Carolina gets $31 million grant to address opioid epidemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) — North Carolina has received more than $31 million in grant money through the 21st Century Cures Act to address the opioid crisis.

The grant will be used to increase access to prevention, treatment and recovery supports, reducing unmet treatment need, and reducing opioid-related overdoses and deaths.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded the grant to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

North Carolina experienced a 73 percent spike in opioid-related deaths between 2005 and 2015. Opioid overdose also claimed the lives of more than 13,000 North Carolinians between 1999 and 2015, and four North Carolina cities rank among the nation’s worst for opioid abuse.

The Cures Act provides up to $1 billion in grants spread among states and territories over the next two years, beginning in fiscal year 2017. North Carolina will receive $15,586,724 in the first year. Eighty percent of those funds must target outreach, engagement, treatment and recovery services.

The funds will serve 1,460 individuals in the first year and 1,520 in the second, providing services to a total of 2,980 over the two-year span. This would represent an 18 percent increase in the number of patients currently being served in the 54 private and publicly funded opioid treatment programs

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