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Bladen Opioid Task Force meets, gets update on grant opportunity

By Erin Smith

The Bladen County Opioid Task Force met on Tuesday afternoon and heard an update regarding a grant application for the proposed Jail To Treatment Diversion program. The grant application is due on January 10th.

The meeting was well attended by concerned members of the community, County Commissioners, members of the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, Bladen County Clergy, Bladen County Schools, Eastpointe MCO, Bladen County Health Department, Bladen County Department of Social Services, Bladen County Guardian ad Litem program, and health care professionals. 

Bladen County Commissioner Charles Ray Peterson, who facilitated the meeting, said the county is applying for a grant to create a program whereby individuals who have issues with addiction can receive treatment for their addiction. If approved, the grant would be worth $50,000 for one year and Peterson said there is the possibility of funding for a second year. He also told the group the County will partner with Southeastern Carolina Crossroads and Teen Challenge as their subcontractors should the grant be approved.

You can see our earlier article on the grant application here. 

Pastor Holly Loyer, Executive Director for Albemarle Teen Challenge in Elizabeth City, attended the Task Force meeting and announced the Teen Challenge program is planning to open a facility in Bladen County. 

Teen Challenge is a long-term, faith-based treatment program for women. Teen challenge is planning to open a facility soon on Lula Long Road in the Ammon community. The program was founded by David Wilkerson in 1960 and currently has 250 sites. Pastor Loyer said the program is recognized nationally and globally. 

“We work with people dealing with any type of life issues,” said Pastor Loyer.

She explained you do not have to be a teenager to attend the program. Pastor Loyer said the Albermarle Teen Challenge has been housing women since 2010 and has an 86 percent success rate at their Elizabeth City facility. They have had 90 graduates since the Elizabeth City location opened and she attributed that to the fact the program is long-term with stays usually lasting 12 to 15 months.

Also discussed were lock boxes. Rebecca Hester, pharmacist with the Medicine Shoppe in Bladenboro, updated the group on lock boxes. She said lock boxes, which are cases whereby a patient can lock their medicines to prevent them being diverted for other uses, cost $18 per box. 

Eastpointe MCO also has received a CURES grant through which they can purchase and distribute the lock boxes to locations such as Lower Cape Fear Hospice. The Hospice workers can give the lock boxes to their clients to store their medicines. 

Amy Munn, with Celebrate Recovery, spoke briefly about the program. Celebrate Recovery, which meets at Windsor United Methodist Church in Ammon, is a 12-step faith-based program. She said the third step is you must turn your life over to God. She said the program asks probing questions and makes you think about your life and goals. 

It was also announced Celebrate Recovery is adding a jail ministry to their programming. Volunteers are welcomed to take part. For more information on the Celebrate Recovery Jail Ministry and how you can volunteer, contact Munn at 910-990-7661. 

Richard Allen, with the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office, told the group he had met with the county’s school principals and discussed the GREAT program, which is administered through the Sheriff’s Office. He said they discussed doing it in the 8th grade, but are now looking at the possibility of offering it to 7th grade students instead. 

He added they are also considering a partnership with Project 360. Allen said the Project 360 partnership will offer programs to churches, civic groups and other locations throughout the county. 

A representative from UNC-Capel Hill’s Project Echo was also in attendance at the meeting. She told the group their program can assist with such things as educating physicians about medication assisted treatments and reducing the barriers to primary care providers who offer these treatments. 

The next meeting of the Bladen County Opioid Task Force is Tuesday, February 13th, at 2 p.m. at Bladen Community College. The task force meetings are open to the public.

Related articles:

Next step in NC Opioid Action Plan takes place in new year

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