New Hanover plan targets mental health and substance abuse problems

New Hanover Provincial Government Complex

Amid an increase in drug overdoses, New Hanover County leaders are pressing ahead with a plan to invest millions from the sale of the hospital and from opioid settlement to address drug abuse and mental health issues.

In the first six months of this year, 299 people overdose on opioids in New Hanover County — a number that has been on the rise since 2020.

The strategic plan approved by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners last week aims to counter this rise by focusing on investment in education, access to services and sustainable recovery options.

The county also saw 36 opioid-related deaths and 15 suicides during those six months, according to Jennifer Rigby, New Hanover County’s chief strategy officer. These were just some of the data taken into account by the group of stakeholders and county leaders who have developed a roadmap to address the growing mental health and substance abuse problems.

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