Governor Roy Cooper today announced the next wave of funding to combat the opioid crisis from the 21st Century Cures Act/State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant that North Carolina received in May 2017. Since May, 3,200 individuals have benefited from these programs, and the funds announced today are expected to treat an additional 3,300 North Carolinians with an opioid use disorder.
“Treatment saves lives and these funds will provide it to thousands of people who need it,” said Governor Cooper. “Communities are seeing the benefits of working together in our battle against the opioid crisis.”
This next wave of funding, administered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), targets direct services for treatment of opioid use disorder for new patients. The funds will:
- Increase the capacity of Opioid Treatment Programs to provide services such as medication to treat opioid use disorders, individual counseling, group counseling and other outpatient treatment services.
- Expand access to Medication-Assisted Treatment for the uninsured, which includes medications and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders.
- Support Peer Recovery Specialists in Opioid Treatment Programs and Emergency Departments.
In the spring of 2018, DHHS intends to conduct a competitive award process to support additional community projects that advance the goals of the NC Opioid Action Plan. Also announced today, North Carolina’s Controlled Substances Reporting System (CSRS) has joined the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy’s data sharing network, PMP InterConnect. This network allows doctors and other clinicians to obtain multi-state information about their patients’ opioid prescriptions. The 42-state prescription monitoring network processes prescription data for millions of patient encounters each year.
“This new data available through the CSRS portal gives clinicians the ability to get additional information on their patients’ opioid prescription histories and make more informed decisions before prescribing an opioid,” said N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “I encourage all providers who prescribe controlled substances to register with the CSRS portal and use it.”
Reducing the oversupply of prescription opioids and increasing access to treatment and recovery supports are two of the seven focus areas of North Carolina’s Opioid Action Plan. In addition, DHHS has:
- Purchased and distributed nearly 40,000 life-saving naloxone kits.
- Convened the NC Payers Council to bring together health payers across the state to create strategies to reduce the oversupply of prescription opioids and increase access to treatment.
- Worked with counties and local coalitions to increase community awareness and prevention.
For additional information on other efforts to combat North Carolina’s opioid crisis, https://www.ncdhhs.gov/opioids.
Governor Cooper last week sent a letter to Congress laying out action the federal government could take to support the ongoing work in the states to reverse this epidemic. As Tuesday marks the expiration of the President’s public health emergency to combat the opioid crisis, Governor Cooper urged Congress to act on the recommendations of the President’s Opioid Commission, on which Cooper served. That letter can be read here.