By ELENA MARSH
Moore County will receive almost double what it had expected to get from a nationwide settlement with opioid manufacturers, county officials learned this past week.
The county will have $11.3 million at its disposal over the next 18 years to combat the deadly opioid epidemic that has gripped communities across the nation over the past decade. The figures were revised upward from $6.3 million following the expansion of the settlement with other suppliers and manufacturers.
This year, the county has budgeted $811,000 it plans to dispense to organizations that meet specific criteria. Moore expects to receive about $1.5 million next fiscal year and then see slightly lower amounts in subsequent years.
The Board of Commissioners, which must approve how the settlement money is disbursed, heard a pitch Tuesday from their emergency management officials to use some of that money to buy Narcan for first responders. Narcan, known officially as Naloxone, is a drug, usually a nasal spray, that can reverse an opioid overdose when administered and revive patients.
The county’s public safety office and Emergency Management Services would serve as the distribution hub to all entities needing Narcan, including law enforcement, school resource officers and fire departments.
“Tracking the system proposed by the Public Safety Department is the key as well as keeping up with every dollar,” said County Manager Wayne Vest. “We don’t want to have a situation where we spend $2 to track $1.”
Four proposals totaling almost $350,000 have been put forward so far to commissioners for funding. However, one bidder, Bridge to Recovery, Inc., was removed from the list after the company had concerns about modifying its strategies to fit into the plan the county’s Opioid Task Force set.
With that proposal removed, the new total from the three organizations is $323,948. Each of the organizations was required to choose from a list of 12 authorized strategies that serve persons with opioid-use or related substance abuse disorders. The bidders include:
* FirstHealth of the Carolinas, seeking $134,628 assigned to recovery support services, early intervention, naloxone distribution and a post-overdose response team;
* Moore Buddies Mentoring, which requested $51,440 allotted to early intervention. Moore Buddies is a nonprofit organization that supplies community and in-school mentoring programs to at-risk youth in the community; and
* Samaritan Colony, Inc., which asked for $137,880 to be issued toward evidence-based addiction treatment, recovery support services and recovery housing support.
Commissioners are looking to move the three entities onward to approve at the next meeting. The Narcan distribution plan is undergoing more study.
Contact Elena Marsh at (910) 693-2484 or email@example.com.