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Vital Strategies Grant Allows FirstHealth to Expand Opioid Response Efforts in Montgomery County

| Date Posted: 4/4/2023

PINEHURST, N.C. – FirstHealth of the Carolinas in partnership with Montgomery County has been awarded a $209,000 grant from Vital Strategies to address substance use and opioid use disorder prevention, treatment, recovery, harm reduction and awareness.


Roxanne Elliott, director of community and social impact for FirstHealth Community Services, says the grant will further enhance opioid response work that has been ongoing through the Sandhills Opioid Response Consortium, a network of partner agencies in five counties in the Sandhills.


“We have made significant progress in recent years to address opioid use disorder, and these funds from Vital Strategies will further enhance our efforts,” Elliott said. “FirstHealth is committed to working collaboratively with our partners in Montgomery County to ensure individuals and families struggling with opioid use disorder have resources and support for treatment and recovery.”


John Shaw, a commissioner in Montgomery County, said the funds from Vital Strategies will double recovery and support resources in the county.


“This matches an additional $209,000 that Montgomery County is investing through our opioid settlement funds,” Shaw said. “It means we have more than $400,000 to use over three years as we work together to address this crisis. We are thrilled to partner with FirstHealth in this effort.”


Over the past year, there have been more than 200 overdoses in Montgomery County, Elliott said.


“There is a strong need to continue to scale, expand and provide more concentrated services in Montgomery County,” she said. “It is essential to take action and meet people where they are in their recovery journey or if they are seeking harm reduction services.”


The grant funds will be used to hire a full-time certified peer support specialist in Montgomery County, ensure greater distribution of harm reduction kits and work to address early intervention and stigma through community education and outreach efforts. The peer support specialist will work alongside the justice system, law enforcement, social services and others in the community.


If you or someone you know needs support services, please call the Sandhills Opioid Response Consortium rapid response line at (910) 469-1499 for a referral or visit


About FirstHealth Community Services

FirstHealth Community Health Services assesses community needs and responds to those needs through programs and services that extend beyond the hospital walls. For more information, visit our website.

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