Charlotte’s Cardinal Innovations Announces $500,000 Grant to Fight Local Opioid Crisis


Responding to public officials’ calls for help, Cardinal Innovations just announced a $500,000 grant to distribute some 7,000 units of Narcan to 20 counties around the Charlotte region. Most dosages will be distributed to local health departments; the remainder will go to providers that serve those who suffer from opioid addiction.

Cardinal Innovations Healthcare is a specialized insurance health plan contracted by the state to serve Medicaid recipients and the under-insured and uninsured, including coordinating care for those experiencing substance use disorders.

Dr. Pamela Wright-Etter, Cardinal Innovations’ Deputy Chief Medical Officer, told Spectrum News, “Narcan is really important to have out in the community. The more people we can get Narcan out to, the better because when an overdose happens you have to be ready to immediately administer it.”

Naloxone works by immediately restoring a person’s breathing. It can either be injected intravenously or deliver through the nose, via a special spray canister. It lasts about 30-60 minutes, so anyone administering the drug should immediately call 9-1-1, if they haven’t done so already, and stay with the patient until help arrives.

The following are common signs of an opioid-related overdose;

Small pupils
Pale face
Limp body
Shallow or slowed breathing
Loss of consciousness

North Carolina also has the ‘Good Samaritan law’, which essentially protects people who contact emergency officials, then administer Naloxone to someone who has overdosed from any liability.

If you know anyone who might use heroin or any other opioids, please pick up some Naloxone from your local pharmacist and keep it handy – you never know when it might save someone’s life.

Please help spread the word!