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Opioid Initiative

The Port City community is known for its beautiful beaches and boardwalks, historic river-walk district, and the largest domestic television and movie production facility outside of California. This past April, the city of Wilmington also became known for something else; the top city in the nation for opioid abuse.

When CastLight Health published the study naming Wilmington as the top city in the nation for opioid abuse, our community responded. The Southeastern North Carolina Regional Health Collaborative and SEAHEC held a “call to action” in which 100 regional stakeholders and leaders came together to understand what actions are currently being done to address this epidemic in our region, as well as define existing gaps. The areas of priority our regional leaders chose to focus on include: awareness and education, access to care, and moving from a punitive system to a supportive system.


  • Community Response: Opioid Harm Reduction (Nov. 3 & 4, 2016)

    On November 3 and 4, the Southeastern North Carolina Regional Health Collaborative brought together over 300 people across the region that are eager to collaborate with one another in order to take action against the opioid epidemic in our community. A day of education consisted of 13 outstanding keynote speakers from across the country, the state and our community. These speakers provided the audience with data on the opioid epidemic, response models from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Project Lazarus, a Quick Response Team from Colerain Township, Ohio, the health care system, the faith based community, the L.E.A.D Program from Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Trillium recovery oriented system of care. Each speaker influenced our community to follow different models and action plans that have been successful within their communities. The following day community work groups began creating action items on breaking down silos, provider and community education, communities taking action, and creating innovative responses to crisis, treatment and recovery.  Action items from these work groups are underway. Look for updates as we continue to work on this together as a community.  Together we can make a difference!


    Group 1- Communication and Collaboration: Breaking Down Silos & Group 4- Rethinking Response: An Innovative Response to Crisis, Treatment, and Recovery

    • Development of taskforce/executive steering committee that serves those who deliver services, healthcare providers, local, state, and federal legislation, as well as the media, as a portal for communication and coordination of regional opioid efforts
    • Navigation
      • In collaboration with a group of mental health providers in the community, a proposal requested to Sen. Lee for funding for following:
        •  Expansion of Trillium Call Center in Greenville to include callers with insurance
        • Local navigators to assist with education and coordination
        • Expanding RHA walk-in/ crisis hours to help deter after-hour ED admissions
    • Quick Response Team
      • Proposal to House Reps. requesting funding for New Hanover and Brunswick Counties
        • For all reversals in which public safety responds, follow-up with social worker and first responders within 72 hours
        • Additional funding recommendation to DHHS for Quick Response Team and LEAD for SAMSHA grant
    • Technology Coordination
      • Proposal submitted to SEAHEC Legacy Foundation to develop electronic platform/dashboard with real-time data and resources for navigators and community providers
    •  Monthly standing meetings, next meeting: April 2017.

    Group 2- Learning Together: Educating the Public and Providers about Best Practices

    • The education group is focusing their efforts into 3 separate sub-groups
      • Youth
        • Moving forward with education and awareness using Snapchat as the vehicle.
        • Focus groups of school aged youth and young adults for input regarding what would be useful information to be featured
        • Will go-live at Community Report-Out (April 10, 2017) Click here to register.
      • Community at Large
        • Holding community opioid education/awareness event with a resource fair, in collaboration with the faith-based community, coordinating with prescription drop-off events/ Drug Take Back Day
        • Community Report Out of Initiative (April 10, 2017) Click here to register.
        • Video report out from group leads of group progress
        • Community Panel made of community leaders moderated by local media member
      • Health Professionals
        • Offering “An Interdisciplinary Approach to Best Practices in Opioid Prescription Management” training and Resource Fair featuring pain management alternatives- occurring on 2/1
        • Developed content for online education of “Caring for patients with Opioid Addiction”
        • Working on development of live and recorded education for web on how to have conversation about opioid use/misuse with patients
        • Developing printed material and electronic education campaign on benefits of using prescribing data base
        • Working with physician leaders to engage, utilize, and partner with local medical societies regarding physician educational and resource needs

    Group 3- Communities Taking Action: The Grassroots’ Response

    • This group has divided their work into 3 sub-committees
      • Drug Court Enhancement/Expansion
        • Judge Corpening (NHCo) advocating for changing policy to allow MAT in program
    • Prescription Drug Disposal
      • Three events currently scheduled by community partners
        • Novant- 2/25 9a-2p Shallotte Middle School
        • NHRMC- 4/1 9a-12p Medical Mall
        • Dosher- 4/6 9a-1p Dosher Hospital
    • Working with DHHS to seek additional funding for prescription disposal
    • Community Resource Awareness
      • Utilizing Engage SENC ( )
        • Incorporating prescription drop-off tabs in all 6 counties, pain management resources/ complimentary therapies resources
        • Link to all community initiatives and information in initiatives tab
        • Market community re-launch (community report out) 
    • Next meeting: Thursday, March 23rd from 1:30pm-3:00pm at the Pender County Health Department
  • Call to Action: Southeastern North Carolina Regional Opioid Initiative (July 27, 2016)

    Dr. Randall Williams speaks at the Call to Action

    The CHHS Center for Healthy Communities (CHC) and the South Eastern Area Health Education Center (SEAHEC) hosted the Call to Action: Southeastern North Carolina Regional Opioid Initiative event at UNCW's Burney Center on July 27.

    Call to Action addressed the growing opioid epidemic in southeastern North Carolina identified by SENCRHC partners.  The event was an opportunity to hear what is being done in response to this issue at both the regional and state level.  Deputy Secretary of Health Services for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Randall Williams, spoke on initiatives being led by the NC state legislature to combat the opioid epidemic.

    Over 90 participants attended the event from organizations in the southeast region including clinicians, pharmacists, law enforcement officers, public health workers, higher education and school system leaders, healthcare leaders, members of local delegation, members of the District Attorney's office, mental health workers, social service workers, members of substance abuse/treatment centers, and members of advocacy groups.

    An open discussion took place to learn about what current programs and initiatives are being done to address this issue in our region, define gaps, and identify major barriers in combating the opioid epidemic.  The top barriers determined included education, provider and resource availability, access to care, prescription volume, and the switch from a punitive to a supportive system.  This fall, SEAHEC will host a two-day event to bring together workgroups around each of these barriers to develop solutions and action plans to implement in the region.  For more information on how you can be involved, please e-mail

  • Educating the Public & Providers
  • Communities Taking Action: Grassroots Response
  • Communication & Collaboration: Rethinking Response to Crisis, Treatment & Recovery