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Onslow County Schools and schools aboard Camp Lejeune have adopted the Sold Out Youth Foundation’s prevention program. Sold Out Youth Foundation’s mission is to equip the next generation for success without drugs and alcohol. There are also local non-profit organizations which offer mentoring programs and prevention initiatives for youth. Prevention in youth is very important, and this is one of the top priorities for our Opioid Settlement Funds Task Force. We are exploring prevention strategies that could enhance current initiatives within the community.
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North Carolina was part of a $26 billion dollar agreement providing funds to counties targeted by pharmaceutical companies marketing prescription opioids, which caused wide-spread opioid use disorders, overdoses, and deaths impacting communities statewide. In holding corporations accountable for their role in creating and fueling the opioid epidemic, millions of dollars has been awarded to North Carolina communities to support treatment, recovery, harm reduction, and other life-saving programs and services.
As of December 2023, $1,375,354,409 awarded to North Carolina. Onslow County’s portion of the Opioid Settlement is $19,213,512 million dollars.
Opioid Settlement funds can be awarded to local service providers to fund services for people struggling with opioid use. We are in the process of developing an application for funding. When this application is finalized, it will be made available to the public, and any local agency can apply for funding. Funding applications, which meet criteria set forth by the state for Opioid Settlement Funds, will be considered for funding.
The opioid data comes from Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, Onslow County Emergency Services, Onslow County Public Health Department, and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. These agencies are required to collect data to comply with local, state, and federal reporting requirements. Some of the internal data collected by County departments is reviewed and analyzed by third party evaluators to ensure accuracy in reporting. Additionally, Onslow County departments and community partners communicate and collaborate, regularly, to compare statistics, identify trends, and ensure accuracy.
If a long term recovery facility became available in Onslow County, it would have to be done by a private organization seeking to establish these services in Onslow County.
Onslow County has hired a Behavioral Health Program Manager to manage the Opioid Settlement Funds. This position is responsible for facilitating meetings with the task force to make recommendations to county leadership and our Board of Commissioners for approval of the fund expenditures.
At present, Onslow County Health Department is not a credentialed provider of behavioral health services through Trillium. The Health Department does offer targeted care management for certain populations, primarily Medicaid recipients who are at risk children of ages zero to age five, and high-risk pregnant women.
To shift perspectives and promote compassion, we must make every effort to help the public understand the circumstances that led to this opioid epidemic. A greater understanding of the role pharmaceutical companies played in fueling this epidemic and the effects it has caused to families all over the country will help in fostering concern and compassion for individuals struggling with Opioid Use Disorder.
To preserve the integrity of the task force and ensure productivity, we have kept the number of members to a manageable number that allows for connections and relationships to be built. We frequently assess the dynamics of the group and the need for new members. If an organization or an individual is interested in joining the task force, they are welcome to contact us, at OpioidSettlement@onslowcountync.gov, to discuss their interest.
Yes, there are trainings available for community groups. Onslow County Community Paramedics offers several free community education opportunities, including training on the use of Narcan, the opioid overdose reversal drug. Narcan training teaches individuals to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and administer Narcan. For more information about this training, you may contact email@example.com.
Trillium offers Adult Mental Health First Aid training, free of charge. This Mental Health First Aid training teaches you how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. You can contact Trillium at 1-877-685-2415 for more information.
Tracking long term recovery can be very difficult. Organizations and service providers can only track an individual’s progress while they are providing services. Due to HIPPA laws, it is difficult to track and share information between service providers. It is up to the individual to sign releases of information to allow different organizations to share information. Because substance use is so complex, and individuals struggling with opioid use often find it difficult to access services or maintain consistent participation in a program or service, this adds to the difficulty in tracking long term recovery.
There are mental health providers, throughout Onslow County, who provide services for children and can provide trauma focused therapy and mental health services for children who are struggling due to parental opioid use.
Onslow County Government does not offer any programs or services which would provide legal assistance. However, Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide nonprofit organization that assists some people with expunction cases. You can apply for Legal Aid representation by calling 1-866-219-5262.
There are non-profit organizations and service providers who assist individuals in obtaining employment. While employment services may not be the main service they offer, employment assistance becomes part of case management to help individuals improve their wellbeing. Additionally, the NC Department of Commerce Reentry Initiative provides resources and assistance to justice-involved job seekers to help them overcome the barriers to employment created by a criminal record. For more information on the services this initiative offers, you may visit their website at: www.commerce.nc.gov