Robeson Health Care Corporation gets $1 million grant to fight opioid use crisis

Staff report

			
				                                Comerie

Comerie

PEMBROKE — Robeson Health Care Corporation has received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to combat substance and opioid use disorders in the community.

The money was awarded Thursday through the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration as part of the $4.3 million given to areas across the state to combat the opioid crisis. More than $101 million was awarded nationally to support 116 organizations in 42 states and the District of Columbia that target high-risk rural communities.

Robeson Health Care Corporation, located on East Wardell Street in Pembroke, is one of four recipients of funding as a part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Implementation.

“This is another opportunity for the organization to work collaboratively in the community to address the opioid issue that is plaguing our community,” said Tim Hall, CEO of Robeson Health Care Corporation.

“With overdose deaths on the rise we must find a way to educate and involve the community in finding a solution. This grant will allow for increased resources towards a solution,” Hall added.

Representatives of Robeson County Department of Social Services, Robeson County Department of Health, Robeson Substance Use Coalition, Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, Stop the Pain, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Robeson Community College, Robeson County Family Treatment Court, Eastpointe and Monarch all formed the Robeson RCORP-Planning consortium and played a role in submitting information for the grant, Program Director Valerie Comerie said.

“Collaborative work, is without question the best practice to serve those in our community struggling with substance-use disorders, and the consortium is poised to continue this important work with this award over the next three years,” Comerie said.

Recipients must use the funding to enhance and expand service delivery in rural communities, and to implement prevention, treatment and recovery activities to meet needs of people suffering with substance or opioid use disorders, according to the U.S. DHHS. Nationally, $89 million was awarded to 89 rural organizations across 38 states through the RCORP-Implementation grant.

“President (Donald) Trump has focused on expanding access to treatment for Americans with substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder, and that commitment continues during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alex Azar, HHS Secretary. “The pandemic has created particular stresses for many Americans struggling with substance use disorders, and these HRSA awards will help strengthen prevention, treatment, and recovery services, especially in rural America, at this difficult time.”

In addition to the RCORP-Implementation investments, HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce awarded nearly $12.5 million to 28 organizations to expand access to behavioral health services for families affected by opioids and other substance use disorders. North Carolina received $384,150.

The Opioid-Impacted Family Support Program aims to increase the number of training opportunities for behavioral health paraprofessionals working with families, and provides tuition assistance for trainees. Workforce grant recipients will recruit and train paraprofessionals to work with youth, including locations in high-need rural areas across the United States.

“These RCORP-Implementation grants are an essential part of HRSA’s overall efforts in helping to combat the opioid epidemic in the rural areas of our country,” said Tom Engels, HRSA administrator. “In addition, behavioral health paraprofessionals play a critical role in taking care of youth and families struggling with substance use disorder and opioid use disorder. This HRSA funding gives trainees the chance to learn in the communities and with the families that most urgently need their services.”

For a list of today’s RCORP-Implementation award recipients, visit https://www.hrsa.gov/rural-health/rcorp/implementation/fy20-awards. For a list of OIFSP award recipients, visit https://bhw.hrsa.gov/grants/behavioral-health/opioid-impacted-family-support-fy20-awards.

For more information about the national opioid crisis, visit https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/.