Substance Use

Substance Use Coalition
Preventing prescription drug misuse

project lazarus2The Healthy Cabarrus Substance Use Coalition was launched in 2013 in response to the identification of mental health and substance use as a priority issue in the 2012 Cabarrus County Community Needs Assessment. In 2016 substance use was identified to be the #1 health priority in Cabarrus County. At the national, state, and local levels, deaths related to drug and medication overdoses have skyrocketed. Cabarrus County has witnessed an increase in the number of unintentional medication and drug-related poisoning deaths. In 2015 Cabarrus County EMS received 422 calls for service due to overdose and according to the Cabarrus Youth Risk Behaviour Survey (CYRBS) teens are misusing prescription medications at increasing rates in order to deal with stress.

The Coalition includes representatives from youth-serving agencies, mental health, public health, healthcare, education, faith-based organizations, local businesses, law enforcement and many more Partners. Engaging youth is imperative in our prevention efforts to reduce prescription medication misuse. The Coalition works closely with Teaching Responsible Action in Life (TRAIL) youth. The TRAIL program uses high school students as mentors. Teens are nominated by school administration and represent several high schools in Cabarrus County, These high school leaders are given opportunities to positively impact students through a mentoring program. TRAIL collaborates with the Coalition to address substance use among their peers.

Structure: Members of the Coalition meet 1 time per month to ensure continual and impactful progress. In efforts to increase efficiency, individuals are broken into 3 self-chosen workgroups.

Education: improve knowledge of alternative coping mechanism among teens


  • Establish stress free zone(s) within local school(s)
  • Promote healthy coping mechanisms in high schools
  • Provide resources to increase parent engagement in school settings

Systems-level: increase awareness of proper disposal and storage of prescriptions medications


  • Install permanent medication drop boxes at the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office and Concord Police Department
  • Educate and provide information on safe storage and disposal
  • Participate in medication take back events

Naloxone: increase access to Naloxone in Cabarrus County


  • Distribute Naloxone to current users and at-risk individuals
  • Provide Naloxone and Good Samaritan Law (SB20) information
  • Participate in Quarterly Naloxone distribution at McLeod Addictive Disease Center

Since 2013, the Coalition has worked with community members and organizations to receive grants from the North Carolina Coalition Initiative (NCCI), Project Lazarus, the American Medical Association, Healthy Communities and Healthy Cabarrus.

For more information, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

News Coverage of the Healthy Cabarrus Substance Use Coalition

Health Alliance: Prescription drugs are dangerous leftovers

Healthy Cabarrus works to help overdose victims

Cabarrus Health Alliance, Healthy Cabarrus Substance Use Coalition Drug take-back nets 59,000 pills


2016 Cabarrus County Heroin and Prescription Opioid Overdoses (PDF)

Instructional videos for the lock bags, lock boxes and Deterra:

How to Set Tumbler Combination for Vaultz® Locking Bag

How to Set Tumbler Combination for Vaultz® Locking Cash Box

Deterra® Drug Disposal System