National Recovery Month:
Strengthen Families and Communities

Isolated and alone… that’s how millions of Americans feel while experiencing mental and substance use disorders. Too many people are still unaware prevention works and these disorders can be treated, just like other health problems.

You can help create environments and relationships that promote acceptance. Support from families is essential to recovery. Family members need the tools to start conversations about prevention, treatment, and recovery. To begin, we need to be able to recognize when someone may be living with a substance use disorder.

Behavioral changes, such as:

  • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school
  • Frequently getting into trouble (fights, accidents, illegal activities)
  • Using substances in physically hazardous situations such as while driving or operating a machine
  • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Sudden mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity, agitation, or giddiness
  • Lacking motivation
  • Appearing fearful, anxious, or paranoid, with no reason

Physical changes, such as:

  • Bloodshot eyes and abnormally sized pupils
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Deterioration of physical appearance
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing
  • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination

Behavioral changes, such as:

  • Sudden change in friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies
  • Legal problems related to substance use
  • Unexplained need for money or financial problems
  • Using substances even though it causes problems in relationships

In 2015, over 20 million people 12 years old or over had a substance use disorder

(according to SAMSHA – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

7 million for Alcohol
4 million for Illicit Drugs
4 million for Marijuana
2 million for Prescription Pain Reliever Misuse
896,000 for Cocaine
872,000 for Methamphetamine
591,000 Heroin
426,000 for Prescription Stimulant Misuse



Receive Treatment

If you suspect or know someone has a substance use disorder, talk to them about recovery. This is not an easy discussion to have. Use these guidelines to help things go smoothly…

Beginning the Conversation:

  1. Have a one-on-one conversation free of distractions or interruptions
  2. Focus on your concern for the person. This is not about you, your problems, or the trouble their behavior causes you
  3. Don’t blame, judge, raise your voice, or getting angry—even if the other person does
  4. Listen without showing your reactions to what they may be saying – this preserves the person’s self-respect and dignity
  5. Tell the person treatment is available and it does work
  6. Be strong for the both of you. Assure the person you are committed to helping
  7. Know what your first step will be if the person wants to get help

How you can help:

Encourage families and members of the community to seek help when needed, and help them with finding and meeting with a professional. Encourage those with a problem to focus on the four key elements of recovery:

  • Health: Learning to overcome or manage conditions or symptoms—and make informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being
  • Home: Having a stable and safe place to live
  • Purpose: Participating in meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school, volunteer  opportunities, family care taking, or creative endeavors; and having the independence, income, and resources to participate in society
  • Community: Maintaining relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love,and hope

Call Partners anytime, every day at 1-888-235-HOPE (4673) to connect with substance use disorder experts and services, or visit for a list of walk-in centers.

This one-day educational conference is especially designed for professionals who work with teens. All the keynote presentations and breakout sessions focus on interventions, resources, and solutions to help professionals work with adolescents and teenagers dealing with mental illness, substance use disorders, and other behavioral health issues.

Click here to view detailed information about this upcoming summit.


October 13, 2017 – 8:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m.

Hickory Metro Convention Center
1960 13th Avenue Drive SE, Hickory, NC 28602



Member Navigator

What are my rights if I am less than 18 years old?

If you are under the age of 18, you are considered a minor. As a minor, you have the right to:

  • Proper adult supervision and guidance
  • Age appropriate activities, special education, and vocational training
  • Appropriate structure and treatment separate from adults

If you are under the age of 18, you are considered a minor. As a minor, you have the right to:

  • Treatment of venereal diseases or communicable diseases
  • Care for pregnancy
  • Treatment for substance or alcohol abuse
  • Treatment for emotional disturbances (mental health)

According to North Carolina law, a minor must have parental consent for an abortion, a reproductive sterilization, or to be admitted to a 24‐hour mental health or substance use treatment facility.

In an emergency, a minor with mental illness or a substance use disorder may be admitted to a 24-hour facility with their own consent, if a parent or guardian is not present and cannot be found. Within 24 hours of admission, the facility must notify parents and legal guardians of the admission unless the facility is unable to identify, locate, or contact them. More information can be found in G.S. 122C223.

Emancipated minors have rights similar to those for adults over 18 years old. Many laws also have contingencies for life-threatening situations. For more information about rights and responsibilities, visit Partner’s Rights and Responsibilities web page. For an overview of consent for medical treatment for minors, see Jill Moore’s report on the UNC School of Government website.

In the Community 

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

A young person you know could be experiencing a mental health or substance use problem; learn an action plan to help. Attend youth mental health first aid training on Wednesday, September 27, from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at the WPCC Foothills Higher Education Center, 2128 S. Sterling Street, Morganton. Youth Mental Health First Aid is highly recommended for teachers, coaches, social workers, faith leaders, and other individuals who regularly have contact with young people ages 12-18. Sometimes first aid isn’t a bandage or CPR or calling 911, sometimes, first aid is YOU. Please register online by Friday, September 22. For more information, contact Kim Rhoads at or 828-323-8049.

FREE Burke County Community Breakfast Forum: Substance Use

Substance Use Disorder is a top priority for Burke County. You are invited to attend this community forum on Thursday, September 28, from 7:30 a.m.-12 p.m., at the Foothills Higher Education Center, 2128 S. Sterling Street, Morganton. Seating is limited; please register online or contact Lisa Moore at 828-764-9218 by September 21.

Aloha Ball – The Arc of Gaston County

The Arc is having their 4th Annual Aloha Ball on Friday, September 29, from 7-9 p.m. at The Loft @ Olio’s, 245 W. Garrison Boulevard, Gastonia.  This is a celebration, social, and dance for adults age 16 and up living with developmental disabilities. Hawaiian Attire Encouraged. Music provided by DJ Skye and Endless Dreams Entertainment and refreshments will be served. Admission is free with reserved tickets for the person and a support guest if needed. Tickets can be reserved through the event website – or by calling The Arc at 704-861-1036.

Hickory Brain Injury Support Group Monthly Meeting

The next brain injury support group meeting is on Tuesday, September 26, at 6 p.m., at First United Methodist Church, 311 3rd Avenue NE, Hickory. This month, a Rehabilitation Counselor with Vocational Rehabilitation, and an Adult Basic Education Coordinator with Catawba Valley Community College, will speak about how the different programs prepare an individual to reenter into education and into the workforce after brain injury and other challenging disabilities. For more information contact Travis Glass at 828-781-0778 or

Catawba County Recovery Rally

Help us commemorate recovery in Catawba County on Saturday, September 30, from 1-3 p.m., at the Hickory Soup Kitchen, 131 Main Avenue NE, Hickory. Recovery means different things to different people. Too often society thinks there is no hope for people struggling with substance use or mental disorders. Come and see recovery is possible for anyone and there is hope and healing for people living with substance use and mental disorders. This is a free event with speakers, fellowship, information, entertainment, food, and empowerment. For more information, contact Michael Smith at or 828-325-4693.

Behavioral Health Focus is published on the first and third Tuesday of each month and is intended to be a source of information for those working or interacting with behavioral health care in Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry and Yadkin Counties. If you would like to contribute, contact Jeff Brucato at 704-884-2564 or Items should be submitted by Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the next week’s issue.

Volume 3 – Issue 5
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