Last year, nearly 200 people in Wake County died as a result of drug overdoses. More than 1,000 found themselves in hospital emergency rooms. Though COVID-19 and political chaos may have taken the spotlight in the last few years, the national opioid epidemic hasn’t gone anywhere.
Next week, Wake County is holding its first community meeting on how it will spend its share of a historic $26 billion National Opioid Settlement– more than $35 million over the next 18 years.“
“The opioid epidemic hits close to home for so many families, and even if your family hasn’t faced addiction problems, I’m sure you know a family that has,” said Sig Hutchinson, chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, in a statement this week. “For all these reasons and more, it’s important for residents to be able to weigh in on the best use of these funds to help the individuals and families in our community.”
On Tuesday, August 2, county leaders will join with healthcare workers and those experiencing addiction to discuss the best way to use the money, plan and prioritize. The meeting, to be held from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Wake County Commons Building, 4011 Carya Drive, Raleigh, is open to the public with a virtual option also available. Those interested in attending can register at wakegov.com/opioidsettlement.
After Tuesday’s public brainstorming session, county staff will conduct an online public survey to determine priorities from among the strategies discussed. They will take recommendations to the Wake County Board of Commissioners’ Human Services Committee for consideration at the board’s August meeting.
The board is expected to make final decisions on the settlement funding in September.