North Carolina Lawmakers Fund MAT In New Budget
North Carolina lawmakers recently completed the state’s budget compromise for the budget; this year’s budget, which includes instructions on how to use funding from opioid lawsuits, has finally given the go-ahead for the state to pay for Medication-Assisted Treatment. (MAT)
Money from the opioid lawsuits will now be distributed according to this year's budget compromise.
North Carolina Previously Avoided MAT
While research has shown that Mediation-Assisted Treatment is effective and safe for opioid use disorder, its efficacy is touted by the FDA as the “gold standard” of treatment. Yet North Carolina, like many states, seemed hesitant to offer it to people with opioid addiction.
Past laws included money to help people obtain “substance use disorder treatment” or “recovery services” but were vague about details. Last year, the money went to established drug treatment facilities and new, religious-affiliate centers. But no money was earmarked for MAT. This year, there is money for MAT in both treatment facilities and for people involved in the justice system.
Offering MAT In The Justice System
One significant MAT program the state has funded is for justice-involved people who are currently or formerly incarcerated. $6 of money that is paid to state-funded behavioral health management agencies also specifies that it is meant “to purchase all forms of medications approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of opioid use disorder and distribute them free of charge to jails located in their respective catchment areas,” the budget document states.
MAT treatment can be a lifesaver. Many people who enter the justice system desire to stay clean but have no means to prevent withdrawal or cravings. While most jails and prisons prefer the once-a-month injection of Naloxone, there is also room in the budget for methadone and buprenorphine. Many facilities still attach a stigma to methadone and Suboxone, so it remains to be seen if those two medications will be offered in-house.
Combating Fentanyl Overdoses
Money in the budget allows communities to use settlement funds to purchase equipment “for rapid analysis of opioids and other drugs causing overdose outbreaks.” This refers explicitly to drug testing equipment, such as fentanyl testing strips.
Fentanyl testing strips, a harm reduction method meant to prevent overdoses, were decriminalized in North Carolina in 2019. Fentanyl is the top cause of deadly overdoses, and there are new reports weekly of “bad batches” of drugs being tainted with opioids. Molly, crystal meth, cocaine, and oxycodone are a few of the street drugs fentanyl has been found in.
Getting Help for Addiction in North Carolina
If you or somebody you love needs help for addiction, you’re in the right place. We can help you get started on the road to recovery. We offer Medication-Assisted Treatment via telehealth and can help you get started when you call. Reach out at 910-295-7246.
If you are in need of help, please call us at: 910-295-7246 or message us.