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Cardinal Innovations distributes more than 6,000 Narcan kits to Rowan County

More than 100 law enforcement officers, government leaders and other community partners gathered last week to collect more than 6,000 Narcan kits that will soon be in the hands of Rowan County law enforcement agencies and organizations.

In assembly-line fashion, volunteers bagged the opioid overdose-reversal kits, which include a nasal spray, that will be distributed among at least a dozen organizations here and many more in Mecklenburg County.

The kits were purchased by Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, the Charlotte-based agency that coordinates services for people who have substance abuse problems, intellectual or developmental disabilities, and mental health needs. Cardinal covers 20 counties in the region, including Rowan.

A year ago, North Carolina received a 21st Century Cures Act grant that enabled Cardinal Innovations to provide 600 Narcan kits in the community. However, according to Christine Beck, vice president of clinical operations at Cardinal, the agency received requests for 11,000 kits.

“We had an overwhelming number of responses,” Beck said.

As the kits were assembled, Cardinal Innovations Healthcare staff members were on hand to educate participants on how to get help for addiction and the importance of Naloxone availability. They also demonstrated how to administer Naloxone.

In addition, interim CEO Trey Sutten and other leaders provided an update on Cardinal Innovations and how it is serving providers and communities.

The town-hall meeting and kit assembly took place Thursday at the Charlotte Police and Training Academy.

“The board made the decision that we would invest our administrative dollars to purchase some kits,” Beck said.

Organizers have held four town-hall meetings across the 20-county region. The one in Charlotte was the largest, with 8,300 kits being distributed. Other meetings yielded 700 to 800 kits that were distributed to organizations.

Rowan and Mecklenburg are among North Carolina counties with a high number of opioid-related overdoses.

Beck said Cardinal Innovations Healthcare is taking a multipronged approach that includes education and training. She said training clinicians as well as prescribers helps them understand what’s going on and the local impact on their local communities.

“This really needs to be a community partnership. That’s why the kits are with medic teams and law enforcement,” she said.

These Rowan County organizations are expected to receive Narcan kits:

• Granite Quarry Fire Department.

• Granite Quarry Police Department.

• Rockwell Police Department.

• Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.

• Rowan County Fire & EMS.

• Rowan County Health Department.

• Rowan Helping Ministries.

• Salisbury Police Department.

• Salisbury Fire Department.

• Town of Spencer.

• YSUP! (Youth Substance Use Prevention Rowan) Rowan Coalition.

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare will host another kit assembly from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Forsyth County Health Department, 799 N. Highland Ave., Winston-Salem.

Cardinal Innovations asks that participants register so organizers will have an adequate count. Visit  www.surveymonkey.com/r/WBS6MN6 to register for the kit assembly.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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