Alamance Citizens for a Drug Free Community (ACDFC) is a nonprofit coalition focused on preventing underage drinking and other forms of substance misuse. Since 2009, we have worked alongside youth, their parents and community leaders to implement proven public health strategies for addressing the substance misuse problem – from greater community awareness to compliance with laws to mitigating risk factors for individuals and families.
To help us achieve our goals, we have formed strong partnerships with parents and youth, local law enforcement, schools and colleges, businesses, government agencies, civic and advocacy groups, and the faith community. Together, we’re bringing about meaningful change for people across North Carolina’s Alamance County.
Advocacy for Change
We support efforts to change or develop policies, practices and laws that affect underage drinking and other types of substance misuse. We provide information and education to citizens and policy makers, and we help local leaders mobilize citizens who want to share their concerns with elected officials.
Assessments and Data Collection
To guide our planning and decision-making, our coalition collects data using surveys and other tools to assess community needs. We incorporate innovative approaches such as the PhotoVoice project, and we invite members of the community to be part of our research and data collection. Every two years, we work with the local school system to administer the national Pride Student Survey on substance misuse. This survey asks middle school and high school students how often they use alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and other substances.
Our coalition coordinates and leads community forums related to substance misuse, and we offer training focused on prevention. We also distribute up-to-date information about substance misuse through presentations, printed materials, signage, and interactive booths and displays. These materials have been used for campaigns such as Red Ribbon, Alcohol Causes Cancer, Prom Promise, and Lock Your Meds.
Alcohol Purchase Surveys
Another way we keep our communities safe is by preventing the sale of alcohol to minors. ACDFC periodically conducts Alcohol Purchase Surveys by asking an adult who is over age 21 but appears youthful to purchase alcohol at a local retail store. The purpose of the survey is to find out if the clerk will sell the alcohol without asking for identification. Results are shared with store manager or owner, local law enforcement, and others. Retailers are invited to attend a “Be A Responsible Seller” training session at no charge as well as provided materials and support to help them comply with the law to not sell to an underage person.
Support to Law Enforcement
ACDFC coordinates the Alamance Alcohol Law Enforcement Response Team, which includes representatives from local police departments, N.C. ALE, N.C. State Highway Patrol, and the Alamance County Sherriff’s Department. The group meets regularly to plan cross-jurisdictional alcohol compliance operations, including DWI checks and ABC inspections. We provide specialized training for these operations, and we help fund overtime pay for officers as well as the cost of hiring an underage buyer to test law compliance.
Support to Communities
Poverty, neighborhood violence, and limited access to healthcare and other services are all risk factors for substance misuse. They can also lead to other problems that adversely affect the quality of life for individuals and families. We are addressing these and other issues with two Alamance County communities.
Our work through our East Burlington Behavioral Health Equity Initiative builds on existing community assets and focuses on youth success, violence prevention and health promotion. By cultivating leadership as well as fostering community ownership and “buy in”, we support connections that lead to a stronger, healthier, and more resilient community.
Our efforts with the Morrow Town Community Group (MTCG) include empowering residents by promoting: (1) self-sufficiency; (2) advocacy for enhanced city services, beautification, and safety of property; and (3) support for youth to live “above the influence” of substance misuse and other unhealthy behaviors. Our coalition provides support to MTCG through technical assistance as well as through training in empowerment skills and community mobilization.
Preventing Opioid Abuse
In 2013, ACDFC took the lead in addressing Alamance County’s opioid crisis by conducting a community needs assessment and leading a community forum. We then secured funds for permanent medicine drop boxes and supplies of naloxone that law enforcement use to reverse an opioid overdose. To help more people understand the opioid problem, we provided scholarships for community members to attend state and national conferences. Our staff trained medical providers on best practices for prescribing opioids, and we advocated for other best practices such as syringe exchange programs and expanded treatment options. Today, our coalition works alongside AC Hope, a local, coordinated response to the opioid crisis with strategies for increasing treatment and recovery access and expanding community-wide prevention efforts.