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State DHHS and Wake Forest School of Medicine Team Up to Tackle Substance Abuse in Local Communities


The North Carolina Coalition Initiative (NCCI) Coordinating Center of Wake Forest University School of Medicine has received a two-year, $800,000 funding initiative from the N.C. General Assembly to support local substance abuse coalitions – a first in state history.

The NCCI is grant funded by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (DMHDDSAS). Direction and technical assistance is provided by the NCCI Coordinating Center. 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.

“We are excited about this new initiative, which will help local communities deal with the serious issue of substance abuse,” said Mark Wolfson, Ph.D., NCCI’s executive director.

Wolfson said the NCCI Coordinating Center has awarded eight grants to community programs across the state. Each will receive up to $57,500 for a 14-month period to build community capacity to address substance abuse. The awardees include: New Hanover County Partnership; Catawba County Substance Abuse Coalition; Wilson County Substance Abuse Coalition; Honor the Legacy: A Coalition for Community Empowerment, Stokes County; Coastal Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention, Craven County; The Coalition for Alcohol and Drug Free Teenagers of Chapel Hill and Carrboro; Healthy Alamance Substance Abuse Task Force; and Charlotte Mecklenburg Drug Free Coalition.

“Communities are at different stages of development with respect to community mobilization, coalition capacity, and implementation of evidence-based and promising environmental strategies to address substance abuse,” said Janice Petersen, project administrator for the NCCI and the Office of Prevention in the N.C. DMHDDSAS.

NCCI coalitions will receive extensive training and technical assistance to help them build their capacity, Wolfson said. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), based in Washington, D.C., is a partner in this effort and will provide a total of three weeks of intensive training over the next six months to help prepare the coalitions for the work ahead. 

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