Ten Local Government Teams Selected for Opioid Crisis Support from Blue Cross NC and the UNC School of Government

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) and the UNC School of Government announce the selection of 10 North Carolina local government teams who will work to address the opioid crisis in their communities through an intensive two-year program.

Each team, or “community,” comprises at least one North Carolina county and represents multiple departments, jurisdictions, and organizations addressing challenges posed by the opioid epidemic. The 10 selected teams are:

  • Beaufort, Hyde, Martin, Tyrell and Washington Counties, Office of the District Attorney and Chief District Court Judge in the N.C. Second Judicial District, and human services and law enforcement agencies from all five counties;
  • Cabarrus County, including the City of Concord and the City of Kannapolis;
  • Cumberland County and the City of Fayetteville;
  • Durham County;
  • Forsyth County, including the City of Winston-Salem and the Town of Kernersville;
  • Greene, Lenoir, and Wayne Counties, including the N.C. Eighth Judicial District;
  • Mecklenburg County;
  • Onslow County, including the City of Jacksonville;
  • Transylvania County; and
  • Wilkes County, including the Town of Wilkesboro.

The School of Government and Blue Cross NC will provide the following to each participating community: five regional forums at which teams will form goals, set plans for implementation, collaborate across fields and jurisdictions, and learn from experts on opioid-related issues; School of Government support throughout the process; $10,000 to assist with the costs of hiring a community project manager; and $10,000 in implementation funding for the project.

“At Blue Cross NC, we know that the opioid epidemic is damaging our communities and hurting people and families across the state, and we’re eager to address a major crisis of our lifetime through preventive health care and cross-sector collaboration.  We must turn the tide against opioids in our communities.” said Patrick Conway, president and CEO of Blue Cross NC.  

This project, coordinated by the School of Government’s ncIMPACT initiative, will complement health and policy efforts at the state and local levels by working with communities that are ready to implement best practices. Local governments are the front lines of policy implementation, and the School assists them through training, advising, and research. “These teams seem extremely committed and well-positioned to address this difficult issue. We’re grateful that Blue Cross NC has enabled all of us to learn from each other,” said Mike Smith, dean of the UNC School of Government.

Thirty-nine teams applied for the program. Selection criteria included regional, economic, and demographic diversity; severity of opioid-related issues in the applicant communities; and adequate team structure. Those not selected will still have access to content and reports from the program, and the final forum will be open to all communities who want to participate.

A public website will be updated with resources, including a free guide based on lessons learned and other assets collected over the two-year program.

Visit sog.unc.edu/resources/microsites/responding-opioid-crisis/program-basics for more information on the program.


About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina improves the health and well-being of our customers and communities through innovative health care products, insurance, services and information to more than 3.8 million members, including approximately 1 million served on behalf of other Blue Cross and/or Blue Shield plans. Since 1933, we have worked to make North Carolina a better place to live through our support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross NC is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit Blue Cross NC online at bcbsnc.com. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

For more information, contact Melissa Biediger, Blue Cross NC, Melissa.Biediger@bcbsnc.com, or Sonja Matanovic, UNC School of Government, matanovic@sog.unc.edu

Image gallery: