ASHEBORO — Randolph County Detention Center inmates addicted to opioids will be able to participate in a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program beginning April 1.
The Randolph County Board of Commissioners approved a request by the Sheriff’s Office to amend its contract with Mediko, which provides medical services at the Detention Center. The request was to add funding, totaling $95,736, for the MAT program for April, May and June.
Mediko’s contract with the county expires on June 30 and renewal for the 2023-24 fiscal year will amount to $1,136,780, which would be added to that year’s budget. Annual cost of the MAT program, which includes two nurses, is $382,940.
Under MAT, the registered nurses will administer the program, with one nurse on-site each 10-hour day, seven days per week.
They will be responsible for:
— Patient education and providing medication.
— Receiving referrals from inmates who have been identified through screening as being addicted to opioids.
— Linking participants with outpatient providers and re-entry support systems following release from the Detention Center.
Aundrea Azelton, chief deputy for the Sheriff’s Office, told the commissioners that drug problems have significantly increased. She said that there were 785 overdoses in Randolph County during 2022, 82 of them fatal.
Many of those people have been through or are currently incarcerated in the Detention Center and want assistance with their drug problems.
“If you can reduce addiction, you can reduce recidivism,” Azelton said.
Also at the commissioners meeting:
Liberty Heritage Museum gets some help
Commissioners appropriated funds to help remodel the former Liberty Hardware to convert it into the Liberty Heritage Museum. Plans call for the museum to open in time for the Liberty Fourth of July Festival.
Warren Dixon, member of the Friends of the Historic Patterson Cottage Museum, brought the request to the board. He said renovations to the hardware building at 130 W. Swannanoa Ave. revealed unexpected expenses, including $16,125 for replacement of the HVAC system and another $12,000 for new windows.
Dixon’s request from the county, which was approved, was for $15,725. He said the remaining costs would be covered by fund-raisers by the organization.
The Liberty Heritage Museum is planned to be free to the public and display artifacts currently in the Patterson Cottage, implement programs and events of community interest, and provide educational awareness of the area’s history.
Two Cooperative Extension agents added
Commissioners approved funds for two Cooperative Extension agents — a local/community food systems agent and a digital literacy and skills agent.
Kenny Sherin, Extension director, told the board members that the two positions will be vital to the functioning of the Farm, Food and Family Education Center, which is to be located on East Dixie Drive, Asheboro.
The food systems agent will collaborate with partners to develop a support network to conduct food assessments and identify priority food-related projects, including a food hub and commercial kitchen.
The digital literacy and skills agent will help Randolph County residents “gain the digital skills needed to earn, learn and be well in our digital economy.”
— Commissioners rescheduled a public hearing for the abolishment and re-creation of the Farmer Fire Service District. The hearing had originally been scheduled for the commissioners’ April 3 meeting. It has been moved back to May 1 due to errors in mailings to property owners in the Farmer Fire District.
— Commissioners agreed to a special meeting on March 27 for a review of the opioid settlement funding applications.
Seven persons in the audience spoke with comments not concerned with property revaluation.
— Josh Brittain noted that our county was named for Peyton Randolph, a leader of the American Revolution. Brittain said a nephew of Randolph’s, James Innes Randolph, served as an officer in the Confederate army. Later, he wrote a poem called “I’m a Good Ol’ Rebel,” in which he said he hates the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Toward the end of the poem, he says, “I won’t be reconstructed.”
Brittain asked the commissioners, “When were we reconstructed? Not with Jim Crow laws or the (Confederate) statue. It’s not too late to be reconstructed. Are we Peyton Randolph or his nephew?”
— Judy Saunders said she had asked how much it cost to put up a metal fence around the Confederate monument in front of the Historic 1909 Courthouse where the commissioners meet. She was told the price was $37,000. “Now he’s a POW,” Saunders said.
— Clyde Foust, president of the local NAACP, said he wants a resolution on the Confederate monument, which the NAACP has asked the commissioners to move from county property. “It’s not an emotional issue,” Foust said. “It’s a factual issue.”
He said the principle issue for Southern states to secede from the Union was to preserve slavery. Foust said documents show at least 14 executions in Randolph County due to refusal to serve in the Confederate army. He said thousands more were enslaved in the county.
“We need there to be a change, to correct the mistakes of the past,” Foust said.
— Doug Nixon of Staley said a property owner in his community has voiced plans to sell land to a quarry developer. A local group of concerned citizens has formed SOS, Save Our Staley, Nixon said.
The group fears that a quarry will stir up harmful dust, create noise from blasting and spoil groundwater. As a result, they believe their land values will plummet.
Nixon said the issue was taken to the owners of Wolfspeed, who are building a large plant at the Chatham Advanced Manufacturing megasite to produce microfiber chips. He said the owners are against a nearby quarry because it could disrupt their manufacturing.
— Ken Rose was concerned with burning as a result of deforestation in his residential neighborhood.
— Fay Holt said she lives near the site where the Toyota Battery Plant is being built west of LIberty. “I can’t sleep at night,” she said, because of blasting and “dangerous driving” by truckers in the area.