Project Alcopop Sticker Shock!

Teens mitigate underage alcohol sales by calling-out alcopops.

On September 22nd  at Eblen Short Stop in Fairview, NC, RHA Prevention Youth staff, Hannah Bruce and Ada Holt, planned and participated in Project Alcopop Sticker Shock! as part of the North Carolina Preventing Underage Drinking Initiative. At this event teens placed warning “stop sign” stickers on the lids and cases of alcopops. Alcopops are fruity, malt flavored alcoholic beverages, which are popular among youth. Alcopops often taste and resemble soda, juice and energy drinks, and aren’t bitter like beer or wine. Examples include Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Hard Ciders.

Because of their sweet flavor and low cost, alcopops are marketed to youth.

The warning stickers placed on the alcopops remind adults to check IDs, not sell alcohol to minors and not purchase alcohol for minors. This project gives youth the opportunity to take responsibility and hold adults responsible.

Ada and Hannah’s prevention efforts got national attention. Online news site, The Take Out, wrote an article on the event titled “NC: Teens tag North Carolina stores’ ‘alcopops’ with red warning stickers.” This article was then shared by the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association.

This article makes one thing very clear: youth are powerful and their message is being heard.

The NABCA is asking RHA youth to back down. The article states “…if [this project] turns into a statewide or national movement, [alcohol] companies might step in to politely request these kids save their stickers for their trapper keepers.” As a way to prevent negative press, alcohol companies are intimidating youth. The NACBA sees youth-led public health campaigns as a threat.

RHA Prevention youth staff are not anti-alcohol, we are anti-underage drinking. This project isn’t about drawing attention to the alcohol industry. This project is to educate adults in our community. Youth want it known that ninety percent of people before the age of 21 are drinking alcohol; furthermore, youth who start drinking before age 15 are 4x’s more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21.  Youth know their responsibility and are reminding adults of theirs.

This article was written by Hannah Bruce, Youth Prevention Specialist & Heather Daniels, Prevention Specialist 1

https://www.nabca.org/sites/default/files/assets/files/2018DNU/DNU_SEPT_25_018.pdf to read the original article covered by the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association.

RHA SAIOP Team Holds National Recovery Month Event

On Monday, September 11, 2017, the Burlington RHA SAIOP team held an event to simultaneously recognize September as National Recovery Month and the successful completion by three individuals of the SAIOP program. Every September SAMHSA sponsors Recovery Month to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover. As reported on the SAMHSA website; “Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover.” Cole Shaughnessy, CSAC, CPSS, SAIOP facilitator, and Nancy Baraks, LCSW, LCAS, SAIOP team lead hosted the event inviting SAIOP alumni, Alcoholics Anonymous representative Jeff Palmer, and RHA service provider representatives to speak. RHA providers Vanessa Tribble, LCSW, Peer Support and Beverly Jones, LPC, LCASA, outpatient therapist, were asked to provide information on step-down service lines such as Peer Support Services and Substance Use group. Harvey Bryant, CSACA, Peer Support Specialist provided a personal message of support and encouragement to those on their recovery journey. Jeff Palmer shared his recovery story and information on the 12 step program as a continued support in the recovery community. The honored graduates from SAIOP are (pictured left to right) Elizabeth Valines, Cole Shaughnessy, CSAC, CPSS, Cheryl Harrell, and Rachel Smith. We encourage all to recognize and support those who continue their recovery journey and those who support and serve these individuals during this month.

The Opioid Crisis: One community fights back.

The opioid epidemic facing our country, state, and local neighborhoods is proving to be an extraordinary opponent, but the community stakeholders in New Hanover County and the City of Wilmington are rising to the call and fighting back.

RHA has had the opportunity over the past several months to participate in a multitude of initiatives to combat this health crisis and we are honored to work alongside a host of others dedicated to serving. Projects such as the LEAD project, the Quick Response Team pilot, medication drop off sites, and community forums are designed to make a difference in the lives of those affected by opiate misuse.

Whether it is first responders, city or county officials, educators, or behavioral health providers, everyone comes to the table as an equal partner possessing knowledge, expertise, and compassion with a common goal of making a difference.

Leaders in this effort include professionals and citizens who have looked past artificial boundaries and are banding together around several strategies aimed at creating a healthier, more informed community. SEAHEC is leading the charge with increasing awareness and educating the public through pulling people from all layers of community groups.

This story is all about the team work we have experienced and the solutions we have produced as a group. I personally have been humbled by everyone’s willingness to come to the table asking the question “How can I help? How can I serve?”  -Kathy Smith, Ph.D. Chief Operating Officer, RHA Health Services, Behavioral Health

Opioid Task Force
L-R Front Travis Robinson, Molly Daughtry, Deb Vuocolo, Kathy Smith, Olivia Herdon, Tony McEwen; Back Kenny House, Antonio Roper, Mitch Cunningham (Robert Childs not pictured)

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DHHS awards grant to Vaya Health for pilot program with RHA and Mission Health in Asheville

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — A $2.3 million grant from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services to Vaya Health will help ensure people with mental health or addiction disorders receive proper outpatient care and avoid repeated trips to the hospital.

DHHS awarded grant funds to Vaya Health, a managed healthcare organization serving Western North Carolina, to fund the pilot program in conjunction with Mission Health and RHA Health Services. The initiative will provide comprehensive case management for people utilizing Mission’s emergency department for behavioral health needs, as well as women who are pregnant and using drugs or alcohol, and link them to community services and supports.

“Too often, people don’t connect with routine outpatient care that can prevent a behavioral health issue from becoming a crisis,” said RHA CEO Gordon J. Simmons. “In addition to RHA programs in neighboring counties, C3356 offers 24-hour behavioral health urgent care, counseling, medication management, substance use treatment and peer support services. These programs promote personal recovery and help prevent future crises.”

Nearly 600 people seek care for behavioral health needs at Mission’s ED every month. Some individuals needing psychiatric inpatient treatment wait at the ED for more than three days before a bed becomes available. Repeated visits are also becoming more problematic, with 230 individuals making a total of 770 visits during six months in 2016.

“We hope that over time we’ll reduce the use of the emergency department for those visits that are not necessary that can be addressed at a different level of care,” Vaya Health CEO Brian Ingraham said.

The program is expected to begin in July.

Vaya Health original News release_WNC initiative to promote mental health, reduce ED use