On Monday, March 28 and Tuesday, March 29, the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) hosted the “ARPA & Opioid Funding Strategy Summit” for North Carolina’s county and state leaders.
The purpose of the event was “to help strategize on the upcoming opportunities and demands associated with the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and national opioid settlement funds.”
Everyone who follows the news knows very well that counties and other local governments around the country have been suing opioid manufacturers and distributors to high heaven due to the costs those governments incurred during the decades-long opioid addiction crisis fueled by the greed and apathy of major drug companies.
The states and the counties who sued now have billions in funds coming from the settlement of that class-action lawsuit.
The NCACC is a non-partisan organization that acts as the official voice of the 100 counties in North Carolina on issues considered by the General Assembly, Congress and federal and state agencies. The NCACC also provides expertise to counties in the areas of “advocacy, research, risk management and education and leadership training.”
The summit held this week offered the attendees the opportunity to hear presentations from guest speakers such as US Rep. Kathy Manning, NC Rep. Jason Saine, NC Attorney General Josh Stein, NC Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kody Kinsley and others – including Sam Quinones, the award-winning author of the book “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.”
After the conference, NCACC President Frank Williams spoke on the success of the Funding Strategy Summit.
“The ARPA and national opioid settlement funds present counties with incredible opportunities to positively impact the lives of North Carolina’s citizens,” he said in a prepared statement. “Our association is committed to helping counties be good stewards of these resources. During the Funding Strategy Summit, we discussed the importance of adopting a strategic approach to maximize the impact of these funds, as well as provide technical guidance and assistance needed for county commissioners to effectively utilize these funds while complying with all the pertinent rules and regulations.”
Manning spoke on the passage of ARP funding legislation.
She stated, “I’m pleased to see North Carolina counties making a concerted effort to recover from the pandemic and continue battling the opioid crisis – making sure North Carolina builds back stronger and more equitably than before.”
The NCACC has also announced the launch of “Strategic Member Services” – a new initiative meant “to support NC counties’ heightened load of administrative duties due to ARPA and national opioid settlement funds.”
NCACC Strategic Member Services assists counties in the areas of:
- Strategic planning and collaborative conversations
- Federal compliance standards and eligible projects
- Project and grant management
- Subrecipient monitoring and oversight
- Community outreach and communications
The lawsuit and payout process has been an ongoing matter for years.