There is a lot of money coming into Guilford County and the state of North Carolina as the result of the giant opioid lawsuit settlement against the drugmakers and distributers.

Guilford County, to take one example, is getting a total of over $20 million in the coming years. With the new funds as a weapon in the war against the opioid addiction epidemic, representatives of counties across the state got together recently to talk strategy.

From Tuesday, June 6 to Wednesday, June 7, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) hosted the “NC Summit on Reducing Overdose” in an effort to bring together local government leaders, addiction experts, addiction care providers and others who have experience addressing the opioid overdose crisis.

NC Attorney General Josh Stein and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy Secretary Mark Benton spoke to county commissioners and other attendees. They provided an overview of the work North Carolina is currently doing to mitigate the drug abuse and overdose crisis.

Also, the attendees interacted with experts to learn about drug abuse prevention, harm reduction, treatment, recovery, and the terms of the state’s opioid lawsuit settlement.

NCACC President and Washington County Commissioner Tracey Johnson stated after the meeting: “It was an informational day for our state as we came together as local leaders to learn from providers and presenters in the field of opioid addiction. The opioid crisis has displaced many families and taken too many lives. It is a privilege for this Association to be working towards tackling this national dilemma.”

Reverend Michelle Mathis, Executive Director of Olive Branch Ministry, a North Carolina faith-based harm reduction agency that operates in nine counties, was a keynote speaker, as was Dr. Stephen Loyd, the chief medical officer for Cedar Recovery and the chair of the Tennessee Opioid Abatement Council.

NCACC Director of Strategic Health and Opioid Initiatives Nidhi Sachdeva said the summit was “an amazing and timely opportunity for North Carolina commissioners, anyone involved in opioid settlement fund planning, implementation, and reporting, and folks in our state working to save lives from drug overdose to hear from subject matter experts and connect with one another.”

The meeting was dedicated to “optimizing North Carolina’s county’s opioid settlement funds and featuring successful work in communities,” Sachdeva added.


(Photo courtesy of NCACC)