Aetna Foundation gives $1M grant to fight opioid abuse in NC

Aetna Foundation gives $1M grant to fight opioid abuse in NC
Attorney General Josh Stein gives an update on the state's investigation into drug companies in September 2017. (Source: WECT)

NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) will receive a $1 million grant from the Aetna Foundation's $6 million commitment to fighting the opioid epidemic.

The NCHRC's Rural Opioid Overdose Prevention Project is the first recipient of Aetna Foundation funds, according to a Wednesday morning news release. State Attorney General Josh Stein formally announced the grant in Raleigh on Wednesday.

"While this is a national health crisis, there is no single solution that can be applied across the country," said Dr. Harold L. Paz, a member of the Aetna Foundation Board of Directors. "These grants will provide important resources to empower local communities to address the unique characteristics of the opioid-related problems they are facing."

Drug overdoses passed motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of injury death in the state in 2010 and in 2016, an average of four people per day dies from drug overdoses, according to the Center for Health Statistics.

The Rural Opioid Overdose Prevention Project provides community-level risk education in five rural NC counties: Brunswick, Cumberland, Haywood, Johnston and Vance. Also through the project, Naloxone overdose reversal kits are distributed to rural, high-risk opioid users.

"With this added investment, we are able to enhance our ability to give out more Naloxone," said Robert Childs, executive director of NCHRC. "It's going to enhance our ability to connect with more people with evidence-based treatments which we know reduce mortality. Every single life in Brunswick County, New Hanover and Pender County deserves to be lived."

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