Wayne County is set to receive a portion of $1.5 million in state grant awards that will go to 12 agencies working to combat the opioid crisis in North Carolina.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced the grants that will go toward projects that advance the state's Opioid Action Plan.

The one-time, state-funded grants of up to $150,000 from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services will allow partner organizations to implement activities designed to improve access to harm reduction, treatment and recovery.

"Community efforts to turn the tide on the opioid crisis deserve our support," Cooper said. "These grants are another example of the collaborative effort we need to fight opioid overdoses, save lives, and connect people to treatment statewide."

The awards will be granted to health departments, federally qualified health centers and community nonprofit agencies, including the Wayne County Health Department. Also receiving grants are the Appalachian District Health Department and the Watauga County Sheriff's Office; Appalachian Mountain Community Health Center; Bakersville Community Medical Clinic; C.W. Williams Community Health Center; and the Fayetteville Area Health Education Foundation/Southern Regional Area Health Education Center, which serves 32 counties, including Wayne.

Grants will also be provided to the Haywood Pathways Center; Johnston County Public Health Department; the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina; Metropolitan County Health Services; Public Health Authority of Cabarrus County/ Cabarrus Health Alliance; and the Scotland County Health Department.

"These grants will provide local organizations with funding to make real changes in their communities," said Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. "The overwhelming number of applications received shows there is significant need in communities across our state for funding and support to combat this epidemic."

DHHS received 99 applications with projects covering all 100 counties across the state, with the total requests exceeding $12.5 million.

The grants will support the cost of certified peer support specialists and North Carolina certified peer support training, connecting people involved in the justice system to harm reduction, treatment and recovery supports, including establishing or expanding pre-arrest diversion programs, including the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program. Also, establishing post-overdose reversal response teams to prevent repeat overdoses; training first responders, community members and others on naloxone administration; creating or expanding syringe exchange programs, including referral networks for naloxone access and treatment services; and training on substance use disorders.