More mental health, substance abuse services coming to Hatteras

Published 10:39 am Wednesday, May 9, 2018

More convenient behavioral health services are coming to Hatteras Island.

On Monday, May 7, Dare’s Board of Commissioners approved a lease agreement with PORT Health Services to use a portion of the county-owned Hatteras Village Medical Center.

PORT’s outpatient treatment programs include individual and group therapy and family counseling. Medication assisted therapy is expected to be provided for those with addiction to opiates.

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The lease provides space for three years rent-free. Dare County will continue maintaining the building.

At the board meeting, Michelle Hawbaker, who heads PORT’s Nags Head unit, said the expected opening is sometime between July 1 and Aug. 1. An advisory group has been formed, said Hawbaker.

Previously, PORT provided limited services out of space in Dare County’s Frisco offices. PORT will occupy the Slash Creek end of the building. A new entrance will be constructed.

On another front, the Dare County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to join a civil action against manufacturers of opioids.

In April, the commissioners declared the opioid crisis a public nuisance. On Monday, May 1, the board officially authorized filing the complaint which seeking civil remedies.  For the legal action, the county will incur no fees or costs. If the legal action is successful, fees and costs will be assessed against the settlement.

States the complaint: “The opioid epidemic is particularly devastating in plaintiff’s community.

From 1999 through 2016, Dare County experienced 76 opiate-related deaths.”

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that Dare County about 107.6 opioid prescriptions were dispensed per 100 people. The national average in 2016 was 66.5. The rate has decreased from a high of 138.7 prescriptions per 100 people in 2013. The national average at that time was 43.