Rockingham County was 1 of 8 counties chosen to expand an EMS-based Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Bridge program.
Wentworth, NC (February 23, 2023) – Rockingham County Department of Health and Human Services is set to receive $350,000 to combat the opioid crisis that the nation faces. This funding comes from a federal grant intended to expand first responder and social worker efforts to help reduce the number of opioid overdose related deaths seen throughout the state of North Carolina.
Rockingham County was one of the eight counties chosen to expand an EMS-based Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Bridge program. Rockingham County initiated a Post Overdose Response Team (PORT) in 2020. This Initiative is a collaborative effort between the Eden and Reidsville Police Departments, Daymark Recovery Services, the County’s DHHS Integrated Health Care Program along with other supportive community partners. The intent of this initiative is to follow up with individuals, who have an unintended opioid overdose, within 24-72 hours when Narcan was administered but refuse transportation to the hospital. In January 2023, Rockingham County Emergency Services responded to 19 suspected opioid overdose encounters, as compared to 21 in January 2022 (NC Injury and Violence Prevention, February 14, 2023).
These funds will be utilized to expand the harm reduction efforts already being implemented by the PORT initiative. Community Paramedics with the Integrated Health Care Team will be allowed to administer Suboxone to patients who are interested in beginning treatment for their substance use disorder. This allows immediate access to treatment and reduces the chance of a future overdose event, while allowing staff to help them access ongoing treatment resources. During the past quarter, staff from the Integrated Health Care Program have contacted 50% of individuals who experienced an overdose, and 43% of those individuals accepted some type of assistance.
“We believe that this will enhance treatment by making it more readily available in the community for those affected by opioid use.” Program Manager, Carye Dickerson said, “We will increase their potential for successful outcomes in the management of their opioid use disorder.”
This federal money comes from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and will be allocated to the Integrated Health Program under Rockingham County’s Health and Human Services umbrella. Funds will be reimbursed based on County reports and should be utilized, in full, by September 30, 2025, and enhance the work that has been ongoing since 2020.
The department’s mission statement for the Integrated Health Care Program is to align existing community resources around medical care, mental health care, medical transportation and other resources to increase effectiveness and efficiency of care through a multi-faceted assessment to generate a shared, integrated care plan for the most vulnerable population in our community.
The department’s goal moving forward is to prevent death by unintended opioid overdose and to expand our Post Overdose Response Program to other areas of the county in order to reach as many victims as possible to assist them in receiving treatment for their opioid substance abuse disorder
For more information call Carye Dickerson at 336-342-1394 ext. 7048 or visit our Integrated Healthcare page on our county website.