AG Josh Stein, NHC commissioners, discusses opioid settlement, addiction recovery treatments

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – New Hanover County is set to receive $19.5 million dollars from a settlement stemming from a lawsuit filed by North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and other attorneys general across the country. Stein says the settlement helps to hold major pharmaceutical companies accountable for their role in the opioid epidemic.

Stein paid a visit to the Coastal Horizons Center in Wilmington Wednesday and was joined by District Attorney Ben David, Police Chief Donny Williams, and other city and county officials to discuss the area’s allocation of the $26 billion opioid settlement funds.

“There will be more people alive in New Hanover County next year, and the year after, and the year after, that otherwise would not have been,” Stein said.

Coastal Horizons is a facility that provides access to medications and care for people suffering from substance abuse disorders, provides an opioid treatment program, and operates a quick response team to engage with overdose survivors and help them get treatment.

Stein commended Coastal Horizons on its medication-assisted treatment model as the “gold standard” of addiction and recovery treatment.

“They can go to work, they can provide for their families, they can be with their families,” Stein said. “And what we need are more facilities like [Coastal Horizons] that put the patient at the very center of their mission.”

Facilities that do not offer medication-assisted treatment, however, are cause for concern for Stein. He says they are not meeting the basic standard for treatment. That issue is now a concern for New Hanover County commissioners.

“If folks are coming here for this type of service and we’re building something that doesn’t offer that, how effective is it going to be?” Commissioner Jonathan Barfield said..

Stein’s concerns over treatment facilities, including places like the Healing Place, is now leading to frustrations from Coastal Horizons’ leaders. Coastal Horizons was originally set to run Wilmington’s new facility before being passed over.

“It is disheartening to me that Coastal Horizons was put forward to the city to be looking at having a treatment facility here, but when the decision came to it, you made the decision not to go with us because of medication-assisted treatment being one of the treatment models that would be used,” said Coastal Horizons President and CEO Margaret Weller-Stargell.

WECT reached out to the Healing Place to get their reaction to Stein’s comments and will update this story upon receiving a response.

According to New Hanover County, construction on the Healing Place is set to be completed this fall.

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