How to Join
Connect with others in your community and get involved in local efforts to address the opioid epidemic in North Carolina. Remember: together, we are more powerful than opioids, and we can all help end the epidemic.
Find groups who are working to address the opioid epidemic in your area with this map and county list.
Led by the North Carolina Department of Insurance, Safe Kids North Carolina works to keep kids safe by (among other things) sponsoring Operation Medicine Drop and encouraging people to dispose of unneeded prescription drugs. Connect with your local Safe Kids chapter here.
The NCDOJ’s Opioid Resources website highlights creative local efforts to address the opioid epidemic across our state.
Community Strategies to
Address the Epidemic
Community coalitions and local governments are using a wide range of innovative strategies to address the opioid epidemic. The best strategies are supported by data and an understanding of effective prevention strategies.
Community-based strategies to address the opioid epidemic include:
- Encouraging community members who need help to find treatment, recovery resources, and support for those helping a loved one with addiction.
- Supporting community members in treatment and recovery by getting the facts about addiction, treatment and recovery, understanding myths and misconceptions, and expanding support services.
- Encouraging community members to dispose of leftover medications and secure medications that are in their home.
- Encouraging community members to talk to healthcare providers about the risks associated with prescription pain medications and alternatives to opioids for treating pain.
- Encouraging community members to talk to their kids, families, and loved ones about risks related to drug misuse and methods for coping with social pressure, stress and other challenges.
- Working with members of the faith community and encouraging them to get involved in efforts to address the opioid epidemic.
- Working with local schools to offer programs and curricula to help foster healthy students and discourage misuse of opioids and other drugs.
- Working with the business community to support community efforts and create healthy and recovery-friendly workplaces.
- Increasing access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone.
- Creating, expanding, or supporting syringe exchange programs to reduce the risk of disease and overdose and improve access to healthcare and treatment.
- Working with first responders and emergency departments to develop post-overdose response strategies.
- Working with law enforcement, district attorneys, and the court system to develop pre-arrest diversion programs, support drug courts, and help people who are incarcerated get treatment.
- Supporting programs that help people who are in jail or prison get treatment for mental health or substance use issues while they are incarcerated and after they are released.
For additional resources, see this Menu of Local Actions to Prevent Opioid Overdose in NC or visit the Rx Awareness campaign and Operation Prevention.
We all have a role to play in ending the opioid epidemic that’s devastating our state. Community toolkits give you resources to make your own – ways to educate the groups you work with and the people you speak to about the dangers of opioids and how to become part of the solution.
Each toolkit is designed with resources specific to the organization or audience. You can make them your own. Here’s a look at what your toolkit may include:
Share facts about the impact of the opioid crisis in North Carolina and the country, and what’s being done to address it.
Finalize a formal resolution about your organization’s involvement in the More Powerful NC campaign. Use the resolution’s options to decide what actions you will take to address the epidemic in your communities.
Print and distribute 6” x 4” take back cards at events and within communities to remind people to safely dispose of unnecessary and leftover medications.
Post about the dangers of opioids, the impact of the epidemic, and encourage community members to take action through Facebook and Twitter social posts. Don’t forget to use #MorePowerfulNC in your posts, and tag the North Carolina Department of Justice and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
There’s no template for writing a letter or opinion piece for your local newspaper, but you can take a minute to share your thoughts about the impact of the epidemic on your community, and what we all can do to help end it.
Buy print ad space from local community newspapers and magazines to raise awareness about the campaign and encourage action.
Buy and place digital media ads on local news websites or other websites that are relevant to your community.
Download a toolkit:
- Law enforcement partners
- Coaches and athletic organizations
- County commissions and local municipalities
- Health boards and health departments
How Can Communities
Be Most Effective?
Community efforts are most effective in addressing substance misuse when these things happen:
- When community efforts are supported by data.
- When community efforts incorporate prevention basics.
- When everyone with a stake in addressing drug misuse is at the table, working together. This includes government, business, healthcare, education, law enforcement, citizens, and other stakeholders.
- When they undertake a careful, systematic process that includes assessing needs, building capacity, developing a plan, implementing the plan and evaluating whether the plan is working. This process is called the Strategic Prevention Framework. Learn more here and here.
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) is a valuable resource for community coalitions. Learn more on their website here.
CADCA has produced a series of free downloadable “primers” explaining the Strategic Prevention Framework in user-friendly terms:
NC Association of County Commissioners
The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners started the County Leadership Forum on Opioid Abuse to engage local elected leaders in an informed discussion about the opioid epidemic, as well as develop collaborative strategies that enhance prevention, education and treatment. Learn more here.