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Press Release

CORE and North Carolina Partners Join Together to Challenge the Opioid Epidemic in Tribal Communities

LOS ANGELES – January 2024 CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) is working with donor, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and several partners, including the North Carolina Department of Public Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) and United Healthcare to address the root causes of the opioid epidemic in tribal communities in North Carolina through grant contributions totaling nearly $750,000.  


With these funds, CORE will further collaborate with members and leaders of the Lumbee Tribe in Robeson, Hoke, Scotland, and Cumberland Counties to address this ongoing public health crisis.  


According to the most recent report from the North Carolina Center for Health Statistics, Indigenous Americans in North Carolina die from overdoses at twice the rate of the state’s white population. 


Through cross-section relief programs, CORE will continue collaborating with tribal leaders to address the issue at the source, providing critical access to care for those with substance use disorders. In hopes of reducing the number of overdose deaths, CORE will distribute the life-saving medication Naloxone and sterile supplies.  


This funding will provide community access to board-certified addiction medicine physicians, a vital resource for those in need. In addition, CORE will be hiring full-time community health workers to address region-wide health disparities. 


In partnership with the UNC School of Medicine, CORE will recruit physician staff to integrate addiction treatment into their clinical practices. UNC staff will provide training and technical assistance sessions about medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). The UNC team will also offer two workshops for physician staff, who will also be offered the opportunity to participate in the Governor’s Institute Annual Conference in Addiction Medicine in Asheville. 


Community education on overdoses and opioid use disorders is vital to decreasing negative stigma, ensuring those afflicted get the help they need, and better informing those who are most at risk of developing use disorders.  


The expansion of CORE’s ongoing work with the Lumbee Tribe places community voices at the forefront of the conversation to address this ongoing crisis.  


“CORE is more than grateful for the support from this trio of organizations and agencies; these funds will go directly towards assisting those experiencing Substance Use Disorder/Opioid Use Disorder, which disproportionately impacts tribal communities,” said Linda Oxendine, CORE’s Area Manager for North Carolina Programs. “CORE is committed to working closely with Lumbee Tribe leaders to create a future filled with better, sustainable health outcomes and hope.”  

About CORE

Founded by Sean Penn and Ann Lee, CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) is a global crisis response organization that brings immediate aid and long-term recovery solutions to underserved communities. When a crisis strikes, CORE responds immediately to fill gaps, mobilize resources, and establish trust and collaboration from within communities. CORE has played a pivotal role in providing critical relief to marginalized and vulnerable populations since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine as it continues its mission of empowering communities in and beyond crises worldwide. For more information, see www.coreresponse.org and follow CORE on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.