Drug-Alcohol Abuse Free Iredell poised to make big impact on substance abuse
BY DEBBIE PAGE
The Drug-Alcohol Abuse Free Iredell coalition has outlined a plan to eliminate substance-use disorder in the county.
“There’s so much work to be done. You see how much needs to be done, and it just seems an insurmountable problem, but Iredell County really is very forward-thinking," DAFI President Sandy Tabor-Gray said during the coalition's meeting on March 5. "We are unique to get all the different sectors in our community to come together and address this problem."
DAFI is comprised of agencies, organizations and community members committed to the reduction and prevention of drug/alcohol misuse, abuse, and overdose deaths in Iredell County.
The coalition is coming off a successful February Community Action with Compassion Forum, which enlightened its 142 attendees with powerful information about addiction and the resources and community action needed to combat substance-use disorder.
Treasurer Regina Propst also announced that the cost of the day-long event came in under half of its $10,000 budget, at a cost of $4,217.
The group got an infusion of funds from the Mooresville ABC Board to bring its treasury up to nearly $120,000, though $117,000 of this money is earmarked to be used for Mooresville-area substance use prevention efforts per its agreement with that board.
Tabor-Gray also announced that the Troutman ABC Board voted to award its designated alcohol education money, which is 7 percent of the store’s total sales, to the coalition when the 15-month-old store begins turning a profit this year.
All four subcommittees created “wish lists” of programming and materials they would like to have to accomplish each of its missions at their February meetings. The Executive Committee is using those lists to create an 18-month budget, according to Tabor-Gray. A special DAFI meeting will be called to consider the budget in a few weeks.
Coalition members voted to spend up to $6,000 on an updated logo and brochure (to reflect the organization’s addition of “alcohol” in its name) as well as for the creation of a website for the group, which now communicates electronically mainly through its Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Drug-Alcohol-Abuse-Free-I...) and through the Iredell County Health Department website under the Substance Abuse section.
The website will list the coalition’s services, educational programs and opportunities for mini-grants to organizations working to help those with substance use disorder.
Partnerships for Success (PFS) grant money will also provide $23,000 for local Lock Your Meds efforts, including billboards, print ads, and marketing materials to hand out at area events, drop boxes, small and medium home lock boxes, and drug-deactivation pouches.
The PFS grant ends in June, but DAFI plans to continue the grant’s PACT 360 and Gen RX programs with volunteers. Propst will train anyone interested in presenting the program at area schools, churches and youth organizations. Contact her at email@example.com if interested.
One of the most important coalition accomplishments was the compilation of all area resources to treat substance-use disorder in a comprehensive guide, available online (https://www.co.iredell.nc.us/1227/Substance-Abuse) and also in a printable pdf version. Tabor-Gray cautioned that the online version is more frequently updated.
The Treatment, Case Management and Recovery Committee members spent many months contacting organizations and providers in Iredell and nearby areas to provide this invaluable treatment resource for families and friends who wish to help loved ones seek treatment for their substance-use disorder.
The coalition also printed 1200 copies of the resource guide for distribution to health-care providers, churches and others to get the information into the hands of those who need it.
The Prevention, Education and School Committee is planning some upcoming events, including the April 28 Family Fest at Fairview Baptist Church (349 Turnersburg Highway, Statesville, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.), which will focus on mental health and wellness along with food and family friendly activities.
The Prescribing Practices and Naloxone Committee has been working on training I-SS nurses and school resource officers to administer naloxone in the event of an opioid overdose on campus. Planning for training of MGSD nurses and other designated personnel is also in the works.
The Iredell County Sheriff's Office's training is also mostly complete so that deputies can soon begin carrying naloxone to treat opioid overdoses. The committee is also contacting county pharmacies still not participating in the standing order for naloxone initiative (http://publichealth.nc.gov/shd/presentations/2017/...).
The Legal Mitigation, LEAD Program and Limiting Access to Prescription Drug Committee has been monitoring county drug disposal boxes and arranging for new boxes at the Iredell Memorial Hospital ER and at Cannon Pharmacy in Mooresville.
The committee also has a drug take-back scheduled at the LIVE THE GOOD LIFE Healthcare Showcase on March 22 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) at the Charles Mack Citizens Center in Mooresville (http://www.mooresvillenc.org/events/details/live-t...) and through the Mooresville Police Department on April 28 at the Walmart.
Committee member Pam Navey, Statesville PD’s community resource coordinator, reported that the county’s LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program is currently hiring a part-time peer specialist and a full-time case manager. The program will go live April 1, with the entire county’s law enforcement agencies expected to participate in the next year.
In the program, an officer can choose to divert a person who has committed a low-level drug offense to a case manager and treatment instead of incarceration. The district attorney decides which offenses qualify for the LEAD program.
“No matter how hard you try, you cannot incarcerate substance addiction out of individuals within our Department of Corrections or within our local jails,” said Navey, who believes the LEAD program provides another opportunity to get people, particularly younger offenders, into treatment and out of the criminal justice system.
DRUG DISPOSAL DROPBOX LOCATIONS
• Statesville Police Department, 330 South Tradd Street, open 24 hours, 7 days a week
• Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, 230 North Tradd Street, Statesville, Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Troutman Town Hall, 400 N. Eastway Drive, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Mooresville Police Department, 750 West Iredell Avenue, open 24 hours, 7 days a week
DAFI’s next meeting is Monday, May 7, at 11 a.m. at the Iredell Count Health Department.