The misuse and abuse of alcohol, over-the-counter medications, illicit drugs and tobacco affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. To address the issues in our area, Vaya Health has joined with community partners to form the Western North Carolina Substance Use Alliance.
The WNC SU Alliance aims to increase collaboration across agencies involved in substance use prevention and treatment, leverage resources to maximize efforts, reduce duplication and establish top priorities for the region. This includes coordinating efforts to increase access to treatment and recovery services, strengthen prevention and education efforts and examine the impact of substance use on overall health and economic development, as a result of lost worker productivity. Alliance members plan to focus on four key areas:
- Expanding medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
- Enhancing substance use treatment for pregnant women
- Strengthening the continuum of treatment and crisis services for adults
- Strengthening the continuum of treatment and prevention services for children and adolescents
The Alliance is chaired by Brian Ingraham, CEO of Vaya Health. Efforts will focus on the 23 counties Vaya currently serves and be guided by both the 2016 report of the N.C. Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use and the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.
Watch as WLOS & Evan Donovan help us shine a light on this critical issue.
The misuse and abuse of alcohol, over-the-counter medications, illicit drugs, and tobacco affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. North Carolina reports 8.5% of the total population use illicit drugs and unfortunately we rank 20th compared to other states in drug overdoses. Western North Carolina communities are actively working to implement solutions that address the impact of substance use disorders by increasing access to treatment and recovery services, increasing prevention and education efforts and examining the impact of substance use on the overall health and economic development as a result of lost productivity of workers. Coordinating and collaborating these local level efforts can result in positive outcomes in addressing the problems associated with substance use across the Vaya Health catchment area, including the stigma of substance use disorders and treatment. By legislative statute, Vaya Health is responsible for the planning of community efforts such as this.
Guiding the work of the Western Region are two recently released reports. The Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use released their report on May 1, 2016. The report can be found at www.ncdhhs.gov/mhsu. The report contains recommendations and implementation strategies that address factors impacting substance use issues across adult and child populations. In 2016, the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health reviews what we know about substance misuse and how you can use that knowledge to address substance misuse and related consequences. It speaks to prevention through treatment and recovery (https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov). These reports, along with other literature and data will be used to drive the recommendations and solutions of the WNC SU Alliance.
- Dr. Blake Fagan, Assistant Director, Family Medicine Residency Program, MAHEC
- Sonya Greck, Sr. Vice President, Behavioral Services, Mission Hospital
- Dr. Jim Hartye, Behavioral Health Medical Director, Mission Hospital
- Jim Holland, Assistant County Manager, Buncombe County
- Alice Salthouse, CEO, High Country Community Health (Federally Qualified Health Center)
- Judy Johannsen, Vaya Health Board Member (Consumer and Family Advisory Committee representative)
- Fred Brason, Executive Director, Project Lazarus
- Jeanne Duncan, President, RHA Health Services, Vaya Health Board Member
- Ronnie Beale, Macon County Commissioner, Vaya Health Board Member
- Steve Smith, Health Director, Henderson County Health Department
- Danielle Arias, Child Substance Use Treatment Prevention Sub-Committee, Director & ESTR Program, RHA
- Chad Husted, Adult Substance Use Treatment/Continuum/Crisis Sub-Committee, Regional Director, October Road
- Dr. Craig Martin, Chief Medical Officer, Vaya Health
- Christina Dupuch, Chief Community Operations Officer, Vaya Health
- Brian Ingraham, Chief Executive Officer, Vaya Health
- Doug Trantham, Director of Behavioral Health Services, Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority
- Kristi Case, Recovery Services Manager, Cherokee Indian Hospital
- Jennifer Wehe-Davis, Network Director, Community Care of Western North Carolina
- Tom Wroth, Medical Director, Community Care of North Carolina