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State grant set for Carteret County's opioid abuse awareness programs

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MOREHEAD CITY, Carteret County - The Carteret County Health Department will soon start implementing programs with money it received from the state to help combat a growing epidemic.

The county received $9,000 from the North Carolina Injury and Violence Prevention Branch in July 2016. That agency is charged with collecting and analyzing data as well as assisting local officials with implementing programs to solve related problems. Some of such problems include heroin and prescription opioid related deaths and abuse, which county officials say has continued to increase.

David Jenkins, the director of the health department, said the grant have been allocated to raise awareness through billboards and meetings with local health care and prescription providers throughout Carteret County.

"One of the initiatives we are trying to do is trying to educate our local providers on the use of control substance reporting system, so they can go in and determine when a patient comes in whether they have already been prescribed opioid or prescription drugs and there isn't a situation where we have some one doctor shopping," said Jenkins.

Doctor shopping is the practice of visiting multiple physicians specifically to obtain multiple drug prescriptions for illegal use.

Jenkins said the providers would be able to identify this practice if they are using the system. The system will also help prevent overdose in those patients with real needs, who are inadvertently being prescribed multiple controlled or contraindicated medications because they have different doctors for different ailments. According to the county health director, data indicates many providers are not using the system despite being registered.

The department will be teaming up with the Carteret County Sheriff's Office for the various awareness programs. The programs are expected to begin this month.

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