Western North Carolina leaders pack narcan kits for 23 counties - FOX Carolina 21

Western North Carolina leaders pack narcan kits for 23 counties

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ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

Some of North Carolina’s county leaders are well aware of the opioid crisis that is affecting thousands in the Tar Heel State. Its why they helped pack 1200 overdose-reversal kits Tuesday at Vaya Health in Asheville.

"I think everybody has a role to play with this,” said CEO Brian Ingraham, “Certainly for us as a major funder and planner around healthcare we really wanted to go all in to do whatever we could."

Vaya Health received $180,000 worth of narcan in partnership with North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Each kit contains two doses of narcan.

Which helps reverse an opioid overdose. According to Vaya Health, more than 12,000 North Carolinians have died of opioid overdose since 1999.

"It’s fantastic to be able to be able to offer a drug in this case that is saving lives,” said Ingraham, “The benefit is that individuals that will be able to get into treatment and seek long term recovery."

In 2016 Vaya Health donated $100,000 worth of narcan to the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition.

"As of July, that donation saved 112 lives,” explained Jesse Smathers, a clinical social worker, “Across 13 of our counties and 4 different states"

Smathers says having leaders from around region discussing what he and many have called a crisis can only benefit the health of those in the state.

"The more we do to raise awareness,” explained Smathers, “About the different types of substance abuse, how many people are really addicted and how many people really need help, the better off we are."

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