State leaders taking steps to battle opioid epidemic

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State leaders taking steps to battle opioid epidemic (WTVD)

Governor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that "North Carolina's Opioid Action Plan," to combat the opioid epidemic.

The announcement was made at the Opioid Misuse and Overdose Prevention Summit at the McKimmon Center at NC State.

The goal of the plan is to reduce opioid deaths by 20 percent by 2021.

"It sets out collaborative steps and key solutions that we can take to stem the crisis," Gov. Cooper said. "Our goal is preventing overdose deaths but also reducing addiction and reducing substance abuse."

Data shared at the summit shows more than 12,000 North Carolinians died from opioid-related overdoses from 1999 to 2016.

The governor said prevention and treatment is key to reducing opioid deaths.

"What we need to get our leaders across the state and across our country to see is that investment in health care is a critical component of this," Cooper said.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen said more funding is needed.

"It's not enough," she said at the summit.

Last month, Governor Cooper and Secretary Cohen, along with Attorney General Josh Stein, announced a grant to fight the opioid epidemic at SouthLight Healthcare in Raleigh.

The 2-year, $31 million grant comes from the 21st Century Cures Act.

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