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Triad gains substance-abuse treatment facility from state budget

Triad gains substance-abuse treatment facility from state budget

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The Triad is set to gain a new substance-abuse treatment center option, courtesy of $6 million in seed money placed in the 2018-19 state budget amendment.

The funding from the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services will assist nonprofit Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abuse Inc. (TROSA) in opening a Triad office. The nonprofit is based in Durham.

The nonprofit is a licensed, two-year residential program, according to statements from Forsyth Republican legislators Sen. Joyce Krawiec and Rep. Debra Conrad.

The total cost of establishing a Triad office is $18 million — the same amount the nonprofit requires for its current office.

The nonprofit and state health officials are reviewing sites in Winston-Salem and Greensboro. The facility will be open to anyone living in North Carolina, but with an emphasis on Triad residents.

“I am ecstatic to have been able to allocate funds for opioid addiction treatment in the Triad,” Krawiec said. “This is another step in fighting the opioid problem that is impairing our great state.”

The existing nonprofit in Durham provides more than 500 residents with long-term substance-abuse treatment, counseling, job training, room and board, as well as health care at no cost to clients.

More than 70 percent of the nonprofit’s budget is generated from community fund raising and social enterprises that it operates. A similar fund-raising effort will be required to support a Triad facility.

North Carolina is averaging nearly four deaths each day from opioid overdoses, state health officials told legislators in November.

The latest data shows that for each opioid overdose death, there are about three hospitalizations and nearly four emergency-room visits.

State health officials reported March 20 that the state’s hospital emergency departments experienced a nearly 40 percent increase, to 5,745, in opioid overdose cases from 2016 to 2017. Stokes and Yadkin counties are ranked among the top-10 counties for cases, having at least 100 visits per 100,000 individuals.

The majority of 2017 cases involved individuals who were white (85 percent), male (62 percent) and between the ages of 25 and 34 (39 percent).

Kevin McDonald, founder and top executive of the nonprofit, said the expansion to the Triad represents “a sincere interest (from state and Triad legislators) in addressing the needs of those battling addiction, and a willingness to invest in solutions.”

Conrad said a visit to the nonprofit’s Durham campus persuaded her to support providing the Triad with such “a unique drug rehabilitation facility and program.”

Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, and a legislative health care expert, said legislature will consider additional funding for the Triad office in the 2019-20 state budget.

Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, and a legislative health-care expert, said the nonprofit and McDonald are “highly regarded by legislators, community leaders and the families he has served.”

“He understands that for this population, a job and a place to live are as, or perhaps even more, important as any therapeutic treatment or medication.”

“Cardinal Innovations believes TROSA will be a valued partner in the work to address addiction and its challenges,” said Dr. Tedra Anderson-Brown, regional medical director for the state’s largest behavioral health managed care organization. Cardinal oversees providers in 20 counties, including Forsyth and five others in the Triad.

“TROSA has a proven record of success for residents completing their programs and offers long-term residential services and on-going recovery work in a safe, supportive environment,” Anderson-Brown said.

“Additionally, the educational, vocational and life skills training they provide are invaluable for those with addiction challenges.”

rcraver@wsjournal.com 336-727-7376 @rcraverWSJ

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