Skip to main content

Expanding access to treatment for substance use disorders in North Carolina

Substance use disorders have a wide-ranging impact on our state. While the opioid epidemic often takes center stage, it is just one of many substance use disorders. Others include alcohol, tobacco and vaping. These disorders drive costly emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

According to a 2021 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (PDF), only about six percent of Americans with a recent illicit drug or alcohol use disorder receive treatment. In many cases, it is unclear which kind of care is needed. For those who do seek help, there is a huge difference in the cost and quality of care provided at treatment centers across North Carolina and beyond. That’s why Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) is committed to tackling the substance use disorder crisis on multiple fronts.

Investing in proven, community-based programs

We’ve made substantial investments in proven treatment programs throughout the state. Our goal is for North Carolinians who live with substance use disorders to get the care they need to lead healthy, productive lives in their communities.

One of these programs is Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers, Inc. (TROSA). TROSA is a multi-year residential and recovery program in Durham that provides education, jobs and ongoing care. Through work-based training at TROSA’s own companies – TROSA Moving, TROSA Lawn Care, and TROSA Thrift and Frame Store – men and women gain the skills they need to transition into the job market during recovery.

Making it easier to find effective treatment centers across the state

To help North Carolinians find the treatment they need, we’re supporting Shatterproof, a national nonprofit dedicated to ending the addiction crisis in the US.

The organization launched a new rating system this year that provides up-to-date information on high-quality addiction treatment programs, setting the standard for treatment. The system, called ATLAS, is a web-based platform that enables people to compare facilities and filter by criteria such as location, standardized quality data and patient feedback, program needs and insurance carriers.

Rethinking addiction treatment to focus on whole-person health care

We’re collaborating with Eleanor Health to increase access for people needing addiction treatment. Eleanor Health meets patients where they are in their recovery journey. They provide proven, whole-person care by coordinating treatment across health care and social services.

Treatment is offered through outpatient clinics, in community settings and at patients’ homes. There are 15 North Carolina clinics planned in total, with locations in Mooresville, High Point and Durham, which opened recently.

To learn more about available substance use disorder treatment and support, on both a national and state level, visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Substance Use Resource Center.

Anuradha Rao-Patel, MD

Anuradha Rao-Patel, MD

Medical Director

Anuradha Rao-Patel, MD, is a medical director at Blue Cross NC. She 'ss responsible for the evaluation of the medical necessity, appropriateness and efficiency of the use of health care services, procedures, prescription drugs and facilities under the provisions of the applicable health benefits plan.

Before joining Blue Cross NC, she worked in a private practice doing acute and chronic pain management.

Browse related articles

4 facts on no-cost Narcan distribution in NC

Healthy Blue – the Blue Cross NC Medicaid program – recently sponsored a kiosk that dispenses Narcan, a medication that can reverse opioid overdoses.

Improving access to care in Hispanic communities

Blue Cross NC aims to improve the well-being of our customers and communities.

Children of color face an invisible threat

Failure to address this challenge now will have long-term consequences.