New Hanover County is one step closer to using opioid settlement funds

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — The New Hanover County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted in favor of the resolution authorizing use of the money from the opioid settlements, that was included on the consent agenda items of business at the meeting on Monday, March 20.

New Hanover County is supposed to get more than $18 million of the $750 million allocated to North Carolina from the national opioid settlement, reached with the nation’s three major pharmaceutical distributors.

The payments will be made over an 18-year period.

“As you know, we’re getting roughly $18 million from the opioid settlement, and we got additional funds coming in now, from an additional settlement, and so the goal is to have a strategy on how to deploy those funds, jointly with the City of Wilmington, because they’re getting some of those funds as well, and so we authorized the approval of the distribution of those funds, number one, and the strategic plan on how to utilize those funds moving forward,” said Jonathan Barfield, New Hanover County Commissioner.

The New Hanover County/City of Wilmington Joint Subcommittee and Staff Committee on Opioid Settlement Proceeds have been discussing a three-step plan that includes education & outreach, access to services and treatment, and sustainable recovery & well-being.

“We worked hard to put this framework together. So, we can really delve in deep and start expending the dollars that we have and really making a difference in people’s lives,” said Deb Hays, New Hanover County Commissioner.

Hays says the City of Wilmington is expected to vote on a similar resolution and she expects their funds to be put into use soon after.

“Let’s get it done. Staff has strong directive from our joint committee, joint task-force, that once we get this approved, let’s get it going, and let’s get these moneys allocated out there. There are a few items that will have to be put out for –you know, request for proposals on them,” said Hays.

The vote also included approving the supplemental agreement for additional funds between the state of North Carolina and local governments, on any proceeds related to the settlement of opioid litigation.

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