Almost none of NC’s addiction treatment grant recipients offer drugs

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NOTNorth Carolina’s latest state budget allocated millions of dollars to organizations that will facilitate the treatment of Substance Use Disorder (SUD). But most recipients, who range from county health departments to churches, don’t appear to offer drugs for opioid use disorder (MOUD). Overdoses in North Carolina have increased at a faster pace than the whole of the United States.

The scientific consensus is clear that drugs for opioid use disorders (OODs), in particular buprenorphine and methadone, are effective in managing withdrawal and cravings and reducing overdoses. These FDA approved drugs are considered the “gold standard”. But they remain very stigmatized– in particular methadone, which is more commonly available to blacks and browns through the clinical system than buprenorphine, which is prescribed to predominantly white people who can often collect it from pharmacies.

Of the 20 funding recipients identified by North Carolina Health News, only two seem to offer MOUD. Ten of the programs operate on Christian, 12-step, or abstinence-based models that do not include or allow MOUD.

“We are abstinence-based, which means we don’t use drugs to stop people from taking drugs,” States the Bridge For Recovery, Inc. website, which received $ 1.3 million. ” IT DOES NOT WORK. “

The North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition received the paltry sum of $ 150,000 over two years.

According to NC Health Info, Brunswick Christian Recovery Center, received $ 1.1 million. Its website states that it does not offer “conventional drug and alcohol treatment or MAT services.” Our program is designed to encourage recovery by developing a relationship with Jesus Christ and working the 12 step program.

the budget allocated $ 10 million to Hope Alive Inc., which according to North Carolina Health News is part of a church and is working to open an 82-bed “rehabilitation center”. He does not have a clear background in providing drug treatment services.

The largest individual sum, $ 11 million, went to TROSA in Durham. TROSA denies services to people “who use the safest and most effective drugs for opioid addiction,” according to the Charlotte Observer.

The budget allocates $ 8 million to expand a pilot program which gives MOUD to those formerly incarcerated on probation, parole or post-release supervision. It authorizes all MOUDs approved by the FDA, but places the responsibility on correctional officers.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition received the paltry sum of $ 150,000 over two years to purchase and distribute naloxone.

Less than half of North Carolina residents with OUD receive medication. Tax money could be allocated to providers offering evidence-based treatment, rather than to those who reprimand them.


Photograph via Flickr/Creative Commons 2.0


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