By Carol Vaughn —
Thousands of dollars Accomack is receiving from settlements in cases involving opioid manufacturers and distributors likely will go to improve drug treatment access for Tangier Island residents.
Accomack is slated to receive between $126,361 and $157,180 this month as part of a nationwide settlement.
The money must be used for opioid treatment, according to Accomack County Administrator Mike Mason.
Mason said the county asked the Eastern Shore Community Services Board about use of the money.
The ESCSB noted the need to enhance services to Tangier due to its remote location.
ESCSB staff prepared a narrative describing a program the agency could create and administer.
”What we are proposing is we have a pilot who flies to Tangier, picks up the individuals, and flies them back to the airport,” said Mimi Sedjat, ESCSB executive director.
Services either could be provided at a mobile unit at the Melfa airport or ground transportation could be provided to a ESCSB clinic.
The ESCSB currently provides services to six Tangier residents, Sedjat said.
From 2010 to 2019, there were 51 fatal overdoses on the Eastern Shore — 39 in Accomack and 12 in Northampton, according to the presentation.
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to have had an adverse effect.
Preliminary figures show five fatal overdoses on the Shore in 2020 — four in Accomack and one in Northampton.
The board authorized staff to prepare a draft agreement with the ESCSB to establish a one-year pilot program for Tangier.
The board will consider approving the agreement next month.
If successful, the program could continue using additional settlement money Accomack receives in future years.