BY DEBBIE PAGE
debbiepage.iredellfreenews@gmail.com

The Drug-Alcohol Coalition of Iredell has announced the awarding of $107,268 in grants to six local organizations that focus on substance use disorder prevention, treatment, or recovery. The coalition is also planning its annual August 31 International Overdose Awareness Vigil and a drug lockbox giveaway on Wednesday, July 22.

For the nonprofit’s July meeting, which was held via Zoom, DACI Director Jill St. Clair welcomed representatives of agencies, organizations, and community members committed to the reduction and prevention of substance use, misuse, and overdose deaths.

Fifth Street Ministries Patti West, who serves as DACI board chair, also greeted the group, noting that “probably everybody’s world has been turned a little bit upside down.”

“We’re all trying to figure out our new normal, but the thing that doesn’t change is that substance use, alcohol use continues to go on and unfortunately to grow in this time,” West said. “What you do is extremely important now, and what we do as a group is also important.”

Fifth Street has many reusable masks that it can share with agencies who need them for staff or clients, West said.

LOCKBOX GIVEAWAY

After an overwhelming response to a Facebook post offer of drug lockboxes, St. Claire announced that DACI is hosting its first drive-thru event to distribute free medication lock boxes on Wednesday, July 22, from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. at Fifth Street Ministries (1421 5th Street, Statesville).

DACI is planning another drive-thru lockbox giveaway in Mooresville in the near future.

PANDEMIC AND ADDICTION

St Clair noted that overdoses and overdose deaths have been rising in Iredell County since the March stay-at-home order. Those in recovery are also suffering from relapses with the psychological and economic stresses and the isolation resulting from the pandemic orders.

DACI started a big social and general media push in response, trying to link up those in need of help with services and to promote awareness of the growing problem. St. Clair crafted a Letter to the Editor published in local outlets and did a live informational program on Iredell Free News’ Facebook page.

St. Clair said the push generated a lot of positive feedback, and the DACI Facebook page generated 200 new likes to help spread the word about substance use disorder help throughout the community. Many wanted to get involved with DACI as volunteers.

She encouraged everyone to like the page and share the posts to get the word out about available help for mental health, alcohol, and substance use disorders.

The DACI Iredell County Resource Guide is also available HERE

GRANTS

DACI receives alcohol education funds from the Mooresville ABC Board each quarter and uses them to award annual grants that provide services to residents of the 28115 or 28117 ZIP codes.

The recipients of this year’s DACI grants include:

The Iredell County 4-H program, which was awarded a $2,000 grant, will provide some Mooresville Graded School District students with the 4-H “Health Rocks!” healthy living curriculum. The  grant will cover training, lesson materials, and supply costs for the implementation of the program.

The Bridge to Recovery organization will use its $25,000 grant to fund its Drug-Alcohol Treatment Scholarship Program. The funds will provide a 28-day residential treatment for 10 clients at a cost of $2,500 each.

Hope Valley Inc. will use its $17,680 grant for substance abuse treatment for Town of Mooresville residents. The group’s 28-day residential treatment program will be available for four clients at a cost of $4,420 with additional funding for a fifth person at no cost to the client or grantor.

The Mooresville Police Department will purchase 50 units of NARCAN ($4,588) for Mooresville Police Officers to carry while on duty to help them save the lives of persons having an overdose.

Piedmont Mediation Center will use its grant money ($35,000) to provide its Restorative Youth Services, including Teen Court, community service opportunities, Youth Offender Diversion Alternative (YODA) program, and life skills classes that will serve approximately 235 youths.

Southern Family Medicine will provide medically assisted treatment services for substance use disorders with its $23,000 grant. The funds will cover the treatment costs of 10 clients for 12 months, including medical and therapy sessions, drug screenings, drug confirmations and case management.

St. Clair expressed appreciation to the Mooresville ABC Board for its support of DACI and the community.

INTERNATIONAL OVERDOSE AWARENESS DAY

St. Clair said DACI will go ahead with its International Overdose Awareness Day on Monday, August 31. The committee is still ironing out the details of the event, but this year’s event will not include a program that would attract a large gathering.

She anticipates a socially distanced drop-by event.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help put on the event can contact St. Clair at jill@daciredell.org.

COVID-19

Iredell County Health Department Director Jane Hinson said that the county has significant COVID-19 viral community spread. She pleaded with participants to encourage mask-wearing, hand-washing, and social distancing among their staff and clients.

She noted that vacations, events, and large gatherings are responsible for the spread, which then often continues through patient households to infect more.

“This is going to go on a long time — our new normal. Please be cautious and careful.”

St. Clair added that the Health Department is working tirelessly on everything from coal ash to COVID-19. She reiterated that “we all need to do our part to alleviate stress on community and to help essential employees working day in and day out.”

SEPTEMBER MEETING

To be invited to the September Zoom DACI meeting or to get more information about DACI and its work, contact St. Clair at jill@daciredell.org.

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