Wake County will receive more than $35 million over the next 18 years through the National Opioid Settlement, a historic $26 billion agreement that will provide desperately needed relief to communities impacted by the opioid epidemic. And on August 2, leaders will ask the community for input on how to spend it.
“The opioid epidemic is hitting close to home for so many families, and even if your family hasn’t faced addiction issues, I’m sure you know a family that has,” Sig said. Hutchinson, chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners. “For all of these reasons and more, it’s important that residents have a say in how these funds are best used to help individuals and families in our community.”
In 2021, nearly 200 people died from drug overdoses in Wake County. More than 1,000 hospital emergency room visits have been attributed to overdoses. Community members reported 546 overdose reversals using naloxone, or 49.1 times per 100,000 population, which is higher than the state rate of 39.6.
On August 2, county leaders, healthcare workers and those who have suffered from addiction or have family members will come together to brainstorm and prioritize ways to use settlement money to fight the opioid epidemic. Available strategies include:
- Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment
- Recovery Assistance Services
- Recovery housing assistance
- Employment related services
- Early intervention
- Distribution of naloxone
- Post-overdose response teams
- Syringe service program
- Criminal Justice Diversion Programs
- Dependency treatment for prisoners
- Reintegration programs
The meeting will include:
- A speech by Dr Shuchin Shukla with the Mountain Region Health Education Center to provide context around the opioid epidemic;
- An image of the Wake County situation from Dr. Michael Baca–Atlas with UNC Healthcare;
- Information about opioid regulation and opportunities for Denise ForemanDeputy Wake County Manager;
- A presentation on a lived experience of Megan Pevey with Recovery Communities of North Carolina; and
- Breakout sessions to strategize on the use of settlement funds.
After the meeting, Wake County staff will conduct an online survey to prioritize the proposed strategies. They will use the findings – along with previous work by county commissioners, the Wake County Overdose Task Force, Behavioral Health Plan 2023/24, Alliance Health and community stakeholders – to develop recommendations. for the Wake County Council Health and Social Services Committee. Commissioners to consider at its August meeting.
County commissioners, who will make final funding decisions, will review those recommendations in September, establish a special revenue fund for settlement funds, and pass a resolution authorizing funding strategies and amounts.
The meeting is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wake County Commons Building, 4011 Carya Drive, Raleigh. A virtual option is also available. Anyone interested can register at wakegov.com/opioidsettlement.