Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition
Prevention Happens Here

"The overdose crisis is national, but the impact is personal.

As the overdose crisis continues to change, we must take a pragmatic, evidence-based approach to saving lives, reducing risk, and removing barriers to effective interventions. This requires that we provide care, services [and education] that respect the health and dignity of people who use drugs."

United States Department of Health and Human Services

The data charts below show how the impact of overdose has personally affected Wilson County. 

These are not just numbers. They are people, our brothers, our sisters, our neighbors, our friends and other loved ones. And, each person matters

The purpose of a substance misuse prevention coalition is to bring awareness to the signs and symptoms of substance misuse of the different substances among various populations in our community and to provide resources to keep our community sober.

Overview of Coalition-Based Prevention

"Throughout the country, community coalitions make a significant difference. Local coalitions continue to change the way that American communities respond to the threats of illegal drugs, alcohol misuse and tobacco use. By mobilizing the entire community—parents, teachers, youth, police, health care providers, faith communities, business and civic leaders and others—communities can transform themselves. 

Coalitions are defined as a formal arrangement for collaboration among groups or sectors of a community, in which each group retains its identity but all agree to work together toward the common goal of a safe, healthy and drug-free community. No single entity bears the sole responsibility for preventing youth drug use and misuse; rather a comprehensive blend of individually and environmentally focused efforts must be adopted and multiple strategies must be implemented across multiple sectors of a community to address this issue. Generalized universal prevention programs to help build strong families and provide youth with the skills to make good, healthy decisions are necessary. However, there is also a need to focus specifically on environmental strategies which include changing social norms and reducing access and availability through systems and policy changes. 

In order to achieve population level reductions in drug use, a multi sector, and community based drug prevention infrastructure must be organized to strategically plan, implement and evaluate community wide comprehensive strategies as well as evidence-based drug prevention programs throughout multiple community sectors and settings. These strategies, programs and services are developed and delivered by the community as a whole and include multiple community partners, such as parents, youth, schools, youth serving organizations, healthcare providers, and other relevant community departments, sectors and participants."

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)

“Addiction is a disease, which when in action, rewires our brain on a cellular level to focus on obtaining and using a substance as compared to securing basic necessities such as food, water, and shelter.”

Substance Misuse Prevention

"What is it and why is it important? When we think “SUDPrevention,” (Substance Use Disorders) we think about things such as “Just say No,” “DARE,” and other programs that many of us either grew up hearing and/or learning about throughout our journeys through avenues such as the education system, after-school athletics, academic/extracurricular clubs, etc… but what does it really mean?

Prevention is the ability to stop someone from making a decision or completing an action that could result in negative consequences. When we teach our youth how to ride a bike, before they even step on a pedal, we make sure to teach them about the importance of wearing a helmet to prevent any harm if they fall off. If we’re involved in athletics, or even in our work related duties as adults, we train ourselves and others on how to complete specific tasks to prevent future errors from occurring. We drive under a monitored speed limit to prevent vehicular accidents while also wearing a seatbelt to ensure that if one does occur, we prevent any life threatening injuries from occurring. The fact is, prevention happens in our everyday lives, and we don’t even know it. 

SUD Prevention should work in that exact same way. Parents, we want it to become common practice to use medication or cabinet locks to ensure that, just as we buy and provide protective gear for our youth to prevent harm once they leave the house, we do the same while they’re in it. Guardians and mentors, talk to the youth you impact about the harms and risks of not only SUD, but also the underlying factors such as mental and behavioral health issues. Stigma impacts so many of these conversations, and at times, keeps them from ever taking place. To make a true impact and to prevent harm for our loved ones, understanding is needed, compassion must be present, and difficult conversations should never be avoided when good can come from them. 

But why is prevention Important? Isn’t addiction a moral issue and as much as I try, wouldn’t these efforts just be in vain?

Short answer…NO. 

Addiction is a disease, which when in action, rewires our brain on a cellular level to focus on obtaining and using a substance as compared to securing basic necessities such as Food, Water, and Shelter. Last year alone (2021), we lost 93,000 Americans to overdose, with 17 of those deaths coming from right here in Wilson County. Prevention, as in something as simple as informing someone or providing education on a difficult subject, could be the difference that changes these metrics moving forward.

We worked so diligently over the last 15+ months as a nation to wear masks, get vaccinated, social distance, and even cancel events or stay away from loved ones to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and its variants. I’ve seen that prevention, on a national scale, is possible. Now, more than ever, our goal is to take it from being a possibility to a reality.

—Jeff Hill, Executive Director, Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition

Drug Take Back Options in Wilson County for Unused Medications

Permanent Drop Boxes

Wilson County has several permanent drop box locations where citizens can safely dispose of prescription medications. This is a great way to help protect our loved ones, community, and environment. Wilson Locations include:

● Wilson Police Department: 120N Goldsboro St.

● Wilson County Sheriff Office: 100 Green St.

● CVS Pharmacy: 2101 Tarboro St

● Walgreens: 3001 NC Hwy 42

Medication Drop Off Events

Drug Enforcement Administration National Drug Take Back Days aim to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for misuse of medications.

Below are photos from our most recent DEA National Drug Take Back Day in Wilson on October 23, 2020 at the Target parking lot.  Our next date and location information are coming soon!  Also shown in the photos are staff from Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition distributing overdose prevention items such as medication lock boxes, medication disposal kits and alcohol cabinet locks and the executive director of Wilson Professional Services Treatment Center, Amber Leclercq, training community members in the use of Narcan (naloxone) and distributing free Narcan to those who were trained.  Prevention items and Narcan are funded in part by the HRSA RCORP Implementation Grant.

The Wilson Police Department is proud to be a part of the DEA National Drug Take Back Day.  Collecting unused pills helps to prevent overdose and combat the opioid crisis as well as protecting our water system.”  —Sgt. Corprew (not pictured)

Click on the dots above to scroll through photos.

Prevention Education Trainings

Sponsored by Area L-AHEC Trainings (Area Health Education Centers)

ACEs & Addictive Disease: The BIG Picture! 5/20/21

Participants gained insight into addictive disease through stories of individuals who have battled addiction and are now on the front lines assisting others in recovery. Discussion included the intense stigma associated with the disease; the treatment pathways to combat addiction; and the role that genetics, trauma, and social opportunity play in addictive disease. Additionally, speakers shared techniques for empowering communities to make long lasting changes to promote overall health and resilience.

What people are saying about ACEs Training:

“Very powerful webinar from recovered individuals willing to tell their stories....I was very moved and inspired by them. Best webinar I have ever attended!”

“I really appreciated the presenters sharing their lived experience.”

“The information presented was raw and honest. I am very appreciative of this experience.”

Online Course: Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT) in Primary Care: Why Should I Consider It? 1/4/21-12/31/21

 MAT is not a new practice but has historically been done at specialized clinics. Since primary care clinicians provide whole person care, they are starting to recognize the benefits of providing MAT to their patients who need this service. Dr. Stephen Loyd provided education about how primary care practitioners can implement MAT into their practice. He also explained how ACEs, trauma, and substance use disorder are connected. Dr. Stephen Loyd, is a nationally renowned Addiction Medicine physician.

Mental Health First Aid 4/27/21

Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. This training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem, and help connect them to the appropriate care.

Department of Social Services Initiatives

Miss Kendra is being implemented at Sallie B. Howard School for 2021-2022.  

Who is Miss Kendra?  You are!  In schools across the country, classrooms that implement Miss Kendra Programs have fewer disruptions, more time dedicated to learning, and improved climate.

Miss Kendra Programs equip teachers, counselors and other school personnel to build healthy, resilient schools for every child through open classroom conversations that weave together trauma-informed care, SEL and resiliency.  The program is easy to teach, takes minimal prep time, includes a full-year curriculum and students look forward to “Miss Kendra Time!”  Miss Kendra creates a safe space for students to share their burdens with someone by engaging in conversations that guide them into making good decisions. Miss Kendra allows teachers to create these safe spaces in an imaginative and playful way that allows kids to enter into these difficult conversations. 

“We greatly appreciate that you reached out to us to implement Miss Kendra at SBHS. This initiative aligns with our goals and mission to educate and prepare our students to achieve success now as students and as caring, successful citizens in a 21st century, global world.”

Dr. Joanne Woodard,
Founder & Executive Director

Trauma-Informed Schools

Stigma Reduction, building resiliency, safe environments in classrooms 

Situations that can be traumatic:
Physical or sexual abuse
The death or loss of a loved one
Life-threatening violence in a caregiver
Witnessing domestic violence
Automobile accidents or other serious accidents
Life-threatening health situations and/or painful medical procedures
Witnessing or experiencing community violence (e.g., shootings, stabbings, robbery, or fighting at home, in the neighborhood, or at school)
Witnessing police activity or having a close relative incarcerated
Life-threatening natural disasters
Acts or threats of terrorism (viewed in person or on television)
Living in chronically chaotic environments in which housing and financial resources are not consistently available

NCTSN Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators
Building Resilience Impact at Darden Project Impact Report 

FACT: One out of every four children attending school has been exposed to a traumatic event that can affect learning and/or behavior.

—NCTSN Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators

Building Resilience Impact at Darden Project Impact Report

Prevention Trainings sponsored by The Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition and their partners.

“An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.” While the statement is true, it is important to note that it is not entirely simple. To build an atmosphere that honors substance misuse prevention efforts while supporting recovery is a bit more complex than the old adage may imply.  Evidence based practices show us that to have success in prevention efforts, community cultures and attitudes toward substance misuse must shift. In order for this type of system shift to take place, health care professionals, law enforcement, businesses, parents, youth and faith communities must be involved.” 

Anna Godwin, MS, LCAS, CPS
Chief Executive Officer, Community Impact NC

Stephen Hill “Not My Kid” Presentation to Parents in Wilson County

Stephen Hill—founder of Speak Sobriety, young person in recovery, bestselling author, recovery coach, and a fierce attorney advocating for change—is a renowned national speaker on substance use prevention & mental health awareness with a truly inspiring comeback story that everyone must hear. 

On September 30, 2012, when he entered an extended care treatment program, Stephen began his journey to recovery. After 180 days in treatment when Stephen was able to start thinking clearly, he made a choice to give himself a real second chance at life. Through inner strength, patience, and support from others, Stephen turned his mess into a message by using both his positive and negative life experiences to live out a meaningful life with passion. 

Today, Stephen teaches people to be resilient by not only maximizing their strengths, but also taking what most people perceive as a weakness or negative experience and turning it into a life lesson for personal growth.

What parents are saying after hearing Stephen’s presentation:

“Peer pressure is a big factor in substance misuse.”

“Parents have a vital role in being observant of their children's behaviors.”

“Parents should remain alert, vigilante, compassionate, strong, and willing to deal with repetitive behaviors.”

“This presentation provided a comprehensive look at a parent-child relationship dealing with substance use disorders; it made it real.”

100% of those responding to a post-survey said that their knowledge of youth mental health and substance misuse improved by participating in this presentation.

NCDHHS Reducing Stigma Training 

Stigma training covers the definition of stigma, the three elements of stigma, how discrimination and stigma are intertwined with each other and will identify some practical methods of reducing stigma in our communities. The target audience for this presentation is community stakeholders with an interest in working to reduce the stigma of individuals who suffer from substance use disorders.

“Understanding the brain’s role in addiction can help break the stigma surrounding the illness — and encourage individuals to seek help.” 

—Jillian Hardee, Ph.D

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

Youth Mental Health First Aid training is an eight-hour course. It is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people.

“I always enjoy visiting RC3. The staff’s commitment to community and recovery is inspiring.” 

—Wes Rider, Trainer, NCDHHS, North Carolina Department of Human and Health Services

Pictured above are trainers and participants in the YMHFA training held at RC3 on October 13, 2021.

Education provided by Eastpointe

The Adult Mental Health First Aid course teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.

The following photos are of participants in the AMHFA class held at RC3 (Recovery Concepts Community Center) on Nov. 16-17, 2021 with Easpointe Instructor, Melissa Reese.

Click on the dots above to scroll through photos.

Street-Level Prevention

Wilson Professional Services Treatment Center (WPS) partners with Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition to keep meds safe.  Lock boxes are distributed free along with take-home MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) going home to patients. Locking MAT prevents misuse because it allows WPS to track the dosages and amount of use over a 30 day period and catch if there are any signs of misuse.  This also assures suboxone does not get into the hands of someone not needing it because it is a synthetic opioid. “Safe meds [of any kind] is a way to save lives.” 

—Amber Leclercq, Director of Wilson Professional Services

Prevention Presentations in Schools

“Youth substance misuse is a significant issue. Through research and investigating data, it has become apparent that youth are more likely to engage in substance misuse when they do not participate in community engagement. Therefore, it is imperative for youth to receive education pertaining to misuse and prevention. The Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition provides educational materials, resources, as well as various events designed to encourage youth to engage with their community. As an advocate for substance misuse prevention, it is essential for our youth to be successful and have all the necessary knowledge and skills to adequately educate their family and peers.” 

—Ashlie Smith, Youth Engagement Coordinator, Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition

The above photo shows Mrs. Smith presenting substance misuse education to a Health Science class at Fike High School as part of their Red Ribbon Week celebration. Students were given a post-assessment on substance misuse prevention and the resources that Wilson County Substance Prevention Coalition provides.  The median score on the assessment of 80 students who responded was 86.

"Substance Misuse Prevention is important because holistically, it preserves the entire person. Substance misuse affects the entire being of someone, not just their physical body. Misuse infiltrates all aspects of their life."
—Mrs. Jessica Lucas, Health Science Teacher, Fike High School