By Erin Smith
The Bladen County Opioid Task Force has received a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to help with the creation of a strategic plan.
The grant, in the amount of $157,520, will be used to fund a program coordinator, pay for a consultant, cover meeting expenses and other related items, according to the grant documents.
Bladen County Commissioner Chairman Charles Ray Peterson, who leads the Opioid Task Force, said the grant will help in taking the group in a different direction to assist the community.
“Our group worked really hard this past year, but we have utilized all of our resources and we now need someone with more tools and experience,” said Peterson.
He said the grant will enhance the work that has already been done by the task force. Peterson said the goal for the new year is to create a strategic plan that will help the task force have an even greater impact going forward.
One accomplishment this past year is the fact Bladen Community College has added a computer lab complete with 10 computers at Southeastern Carolina Crossroads (SECC). Men who are seeking substance abuse treatment with SECC can also complete their GED and receive online training to help them find employment when they return home.
The task force has also received a grant in the past to help pay tuition for men who are seeking substance abuse treatment and are willing to attend SECC.
Bladen County Manager Greg Martin said in Monday night’s Bladen County Commissioners’ meeting, “I commend Mr. Peterson for his leadership on this committee.”
The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to accept the grant award.
The Bladen County Opioid Task Force’s next meeting is scheduled for January 8, at 2 p.m at the Bladen County Health Department Conference Room.