Governor McCrory Creates Task Force to Combat Substance Abuse and Underage Drinking

  • Six UNC Campuses Will Launch Pilot Program Concentrating On Prevention and Treatment

    May 13, 2014 • Healthcare, • Public Safety

    Greenville, N.C. -  Governor Pat McCrory signed an executive order today that creates a multi-agency task force aimed at reducing substance abuse and underage drinking. The Governor’s Substance Abuse and Underage Drinking Prevention and Treatment Task Force will build on statewide prevention, treatment and enforcement initiatives implemented by the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Commission, Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) Division, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the University of North Carolina (UNC) System. 

     
    “The physical, mental and social costs of addiction can last a lifetime,” Governor McCrory said. “Substance abuse often starts in a person’s youth which is why we are targeting our efforts on early intervention and treatment.”
     
     
    The governor signed the executive order at East Carolina University (ECU), one of six University of North Carolina (UNC) campuses that will take part in a pilot program that will emphasize prevention and treatment. ECU will join UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina A&T, UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Wilmington and UNC Greensboro in the pilot. 
     
    “Substance abuse is much broader than the use of illegal narcotics,” said DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos. “There is growing abuse of prescription drugs and alcohol, particularly among our young people.  If we are to be successful in helping young people stay out of crisis, steps must be taken to reverse this alarming and dangerous trend.”
     
    UNC-Charlotte is a national leader in on-campus prevention and treatment. It is the first UNC institution to have a campus recovery center and it provides scholarships to students receiving substance abuse treatment. 
     
    The task force will also build on statewide enforcement efforts by ALE to crack down on licensed establishments that violate state laws.
     
    “Underage drinking is not a simple rite of passage,” said Department of Public Safety (DPS) Secretary Frank L. Perry.  “One of our main goals is to stop minors from purchasing, possessing and using alcohol, and to stop others from procuring alcohol for minors.  Many people do not realize the physical and mental damage drinking can cause, or the danger it can present to others.  We will continue to educate ABC permitted establishments, youth, family and friends on North Carolina alcohol laws to heighten awareness of the consequences of underage alcohol use.”
     
    The ABC Commission will concentrate on preventing underage drinking among middle, high school, and underage college students.
     
    “It’s going to take a culture shift to address the issue of underage drinking in North Carolina,” said ABC Chairman Jim Gardner. “We’re uniting everyone:  parents, students, educators, law enforcement, industry, the prevention community and concerned citizens of our state. We’re going to work together on a full-scale campaign to raise awareness, equip parents with the resources they need, and as a result, reduce underage drinking across the state.”
     
    During the event, Harrisburg Mayor Steven Sciascia shared a personal story of the tragic consequences of underage drinking. Joseph Sciascia, the mayor’s 19-year-old son, was killed in a 2011 car accident in which he was a passenger. The driver of the car, also 19 and Joseph’s best  friend – was intoxicated.
     
    The Governor’s Substance Abuse and Underage Drinking Prevention and Treatment Task Force will be led by ABC Chairman Gardner and DPS Secretary Perry.