Bladen County
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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded Bladen County $1 million as part of the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP). RCORP is a multi-year HRSA initiative to reduce morbidity and mortality of substance use disorder (SUD) and opioid use disorder (OUD) in high-risk rural communities.

In making the award, U.S. DHHS Secretary Xavier Becerra stated, “Expanding access to substance use prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery services are priorities for the Department.”

Responding to a request for proposals in early 2021, Bladen County staff, led by Dr. Terri Duncan, Director of the Consolidated Health & Human Services Department, laid out a plan to build a coordinated network of community-based services and supports that is person-centered and builds on the strengths and resiliencies of individuals, families, and communities to achieve abstinence and improved health, wellness, and quality of life for those with or at risk of alcohol and drug problems.

According to Duncan, “There is no demographic in Bladen County that has not been touched by substance use, impacting people of all ages, genders, orientations, ethnicities, and economic status. From teen pregnancy, low birthweight babies, and increased HIV/AIDS, to parents unable to care for their children, older adults who are parenting their grandchildren or grieving the deaths of their own children; Bladen County is suffering.”

The goals of this grant are to create and support access for prevention, screening, assessment, and treatment of substance use disorders; and create grassroots community support for recovery through community and stakeholder education, peer, and sober supports. Dr. Duncan and the Consolidated Health & Human Services Department have partnered with the Bladen County School System, Cape Fear Valley Bladen Hospital and RHA Behavioral Health, LLC to meet the program’s goals.

Duncan added that “The approach for meeting these ambitious goals will be to work collaboratively with our community partners to build a recovery-oriented system. We are honored to have been chosen, and now we have to roll up our sleeves and go to work!”