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Communities Receive Funding to Tackle Substance Abuse Issues

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – More communities will be able to build their capacity to reduce and prevent substance abuse with funding from the North Carolina Coalition Initiative (NCCI).

The NCCI Coordinating Center of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has announced the second cohort of communities that will receive funding. Eight local coalitions across the state will each receive community grants of up to $30,000 and participate in a year-long, nationally renowned training program to strengthen their ability to tackle this critical public health problem.

The NCCI is funded by a N.C. General Assembly appropriation through the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services to support local substance abuse coalitions. The coordinating center provides direction and technical assistance.

The 2010-11 awardees are: Durham Together for Resilient Youth, Partnership for Substance Free Students in Buncombe County, Robeson County Substance Abuse Coalition, Washington County Substance Abuse Coalition, Northern Orange Partnership for Alcohol and Drug Free Youth, Community Engagement Team (Rutherford County), Watauga County Substance Abuse Prevention Collaboration, and Drug Free Moore County.

“NCCI coalitions will receive extensive training and technical assistance from expert trainers to help them determine the issues relevant to their community and the best strategies to use,” said Mark Wolfson, Ph.D., NCCI’s executive director. Wolfson is a professor of social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest Baptist with extensive experience conducting research on substance use, with a particular focus on the role of community and organizational factors in understanding alcohol and tobacco use by youth.

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), based in Washington, D.C., is a national partner in this effort and will provide a total of three weeks of intensive training over the next 12 months to help prepare the coalitions for the work ahead.

This is the second round of funding provided to local coalitions by NCCI since its inception in 2008. The first eight coalitions funded under this state initiative are now nearing completion of the program, and by all accounts have benefited greatly. “The training and technical assistance we received through the NCCI grant gave us the tools we needed to move beyond talking about preventing underage drinking to actually doing something about it in our community,” said Louise Ackerman, coordinator of Alcohol & Substance Abuse Prevention of Catawba County, a coalition funded during the first round.

Wolfson said that “the NCCI evaluation shows that the first group of coalitions substantially strengthened their ability to implement evidence-based strategies designed to reduce substance abuse.” This included work to promote law enforcement and institutional and public policies related to drinking and driving and youth access to alcohol in local communities.

“Another measure of NCCI’s success is the degree to which community capacity building has been achieved. Local communities are now engaging with each other to pool resources to address local conditions involving substance abuse. There is a great momentum that has started across the state to recognize community mobilization efforts and build great partnerships,” said Janice Petersen, Ph.D., the state’s project administrator for the NCCI.

The NCCI’s mission is to reduce substance abuse in communities by building the capacity of community coalitions to implement evidence-based, population-level prevention strategies. More information can be found on its web site at www.nc-coalition.com.

 

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