Substance Use Prevention
The Healthy Cabarrus Substance Use Coalition was launched in 2013 in response to the identification of mental health and substance use as a priority issue in the 2012 Cabarrus County Community Needs Assessment. In 2016 substance use was identified to be the #1 health priority in Cabarrus County. At the national, state, and local levels, deaths related to drug and medication overdoses have skyrocketed. Cabarrus County has witnessed an increase in the number of unintentional medication and drug-related poisoning deaths. In 2016 Cabarrus County EMS responded to 163 opioid overdoses, in 2017 call volume for opioid overdoses increased to over 550.
The Coalition’s prevention initiatives are funded by the Drug Free Communities Program until September 29, 2022. The DFC grant program requires awardees to take a comprehensive, multi-sector and data driven approach to prevent and reduce youth substance use/abuse in their community. Each DFC awardee is required to administer a survey to middle school and high school students that includes youth past 30-day use/non-use, perception of risk of use, and perception of parent and peer disapproval of use associated with four key substances (alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and illicit use of prescription drugs) every two years. The finding from all DFC awarded communities is compiled into the DFC National Evaluation.
The Coalition’s harm reduction initiatives is currently funded through the NC Opioid Action Plan grant until June 30, 2019. Harm reduction efforts include Naloxone distribution, Syringe Exchange Services and post overdose response.
The Coalition includes representatives from youth-serving agencies, mental health, public health, healthcare, education, faith-based organizations, local businesses, law enforcement and many more Partners. Engaging youth is imperative in our prevention efforts to reduce prescription medication misuse. The Coalition works closely with Teaching Responsible Action in Life (TRAIL) youth. The TRAIL program uses high school students as mentors. Teens are nominated by school administration and represent several high schools in Cabarrus County, These high school leaders are given opportunities to positively impact students through a mentoring program. TRAIL collaborates with the Coalition to address substance use among their peers.
Members of the Coalition meet 1 time per month to ensure continual and impactful progress. In efforts to increase efficiency, individuals are broken into 4 self-chosen workgroups:
• System’s Level
• Harm Reduction