Improving The Lives Of North Carolinians With Mental Illness And Substance Use Disorders | Eastern North Carolina Now

Press Release:

Governor's Task Force Presents Recommendations for Improving the Lives of North Carolinians with Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders

 Fayetteville, N.C.     Governor Pat McCrory welcomed recommendations from the Governor's Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use today in a Drug Treatment Court in Fayetteville. North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Rick Brajer, along with several Task Force members, presented Governor McCrory with a report documenting recommendations for improving the lives of youth and adults with mental illness and substance use disorders, and their families.

"When I first entered office, I vowed to address mental health and addiction issues head-on rather than sweep them under the rug like previous administrations," Governor McCrory told a group gathered in a Drug Treatment Court in the Cumberland County Courthouse. "These recommendations will help us build on our progress to divert mental health patients and those fighting addiction from emergency rooms and county jails into much needed treatment."

 The Drug Treatment Court supervises and assists chemically dependent, non-violent offenders with receiving treatment in a rehabilitative environment monitored by the court. Assigned treatment programs are designed to break the cycle of substance use and related crime. It is a post- arrest, post-sentencing program operated at the District Court level and is an example of the type of specialty court included in the Task Force's recommendations.

 Governor McCrory has invested $30 million in his proposed budget to implement several Task Force recommendations. His proposed budget includes funding for transitional housing, case management, Mental Health First Aid training, child crisis centers, tools to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic, as well as evidence-based specialty courts, including Drug and Veteran Treatment Courts. The budget also distributes $20 million for one-time funding opportunities to address additional recommendations.

"I am grateful for the leadership of Chief Justice Martin and Secretary Brajer and the time and energy Task Force members dedicated to finding common sense solutions to address mental health and substance use in our state," Governor McCrory said. "Their recommendations provide us with a road map that will help shape our systems for care, recovery and prevention."

 Additional recommendations focus on better use of existing resources, improved interagency collaboration and encouragement of public-private partnerships.

 View the Task Force recommendations here.

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