BSAN Meeting Minutes – Feb 2016

BSAN Meeting Minutes, February 2016

Forty people were present at the Morganton Community House on Friday, February 26, 2016 for this 7:30am breakfast meeting.

Joe Marks, Community Relations Director for Burke Recovery, welcomed the group. Derrick Reynolds offered the invocation.

Joe Marks asked BSAN members for updates.

Abundant Life Ministry Outreach Event

Joshua Singleton from Burke Integrated Health and A Caring Alternative announced an outreach event planed by Abundant Life Ministry at The Living Word Church on Sunday March 6 at 6pm. Join us for a night of outreach! Abundant Life Ministry is collecting and giving away blankets, backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, care packages generous givers. Anyone interested in donating should call 828-764-3353. They are also accepting any monetary donations for this night. All local shelters have been invited to provide people with transportation and a hot dog meal. The Living Word Church is located 3192 Hwy. 18 Street, Morganton NC 28655.

Medical Sector Task Force

Dr. Edward Plyler, chief medical officer for Carolinas Health Care Blue Ridge and BSAN RxEAP task force member announced that a group of physicians have formed a focus group to improve prescribing habits of area medical practices and more closely watch the medical prescription data base when following patients, especially in the emergency room.

Burke Recovery 50th Anniv Gala

Rita Gallagher announced that Burke Recovery will be hosting a 50th Anniversary Gala on Saturday, April 30th at the Elks Lodge. All are invited! Tickets are $75 each. There are sponsorship and volunteer opportunities and ways to reserve entire tables. More information can be found on the Burke Recovery website:

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Dorian Palmer, board member from United Way of Burke County, announced that Big Brothers Big Sisters is hosting Bowl for Kids Night on Saturday 2/27.

Peer Support Training

Tim Lentz, Clinical Director at CVBH and with Burke Integrated Health discussed Partners Behavioral Health’s most recent peer support training and reported that there will be future trainings. The agency’s plan is to increasingly use peer support specialists in the jails to reach incarcerated addicts in recovery.

DSS Food Stamps Policy

Tim Lentz also mentioned that his agency is meeting with Catawba County DSS to discuss food and nutrition waiver policies. Food stamps will no longer be available on an ongoing basis without specific requirements met: If no children are dependents, people will not get more than 3 months of food stamps unless they continue to meet certain criteria, including working or volunteering for 20 hours per week. Agencies who might be able to find useful volunteer jobs for people in the food stamps program should take a look at contacting their local Department of Social Services.

CADCA Natl Leadership Forum

Rhonda Cook presented information about BSAN’s recent CADCA Academy graduation and representation at the CADCA National Leadership Forum. Staff from Burke Recovery and Burke Substance Abuse Network, Sarah Dergins and Rhonda Cook, spent a week in February at the 26th Annual Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Leadership Forum in Washington DC. Sarah Dergins is the Prevention Specialist for Burke’s RxEAP (prescription medication use and misuse) task force, and Rhonda Cook is the Coordinator for Burke’s Underage Drinking Initiative under our grant from NCCI or North Carolina’s Coaltions Initiative. At this full-week event, BSAN was recognized as a graduate of CADCA’s National Coalition Academy resulting from a year-long training and capacity building process. A full article was published in the Morganton News Herald at this link:

Grub Grab Fundraiser

Rhonda Cook reported that the Grub Grab fundraiser is now at Table Rock Pharmacy. All help collecting more restaurant and food business gift cards for the traveling fundraiser will be helpful. Please contact Rhonda.

Battle of the Bands / Parents Town Hall

Rhonda also announced that Battle of the Bands/Parents Town Hall is planned for Saturday, April 9 and is led by a Freedom High School Senior, Ben Succop, who is in his high school band, is helping organize the band entries. Consultant Terri Moy will be leading the Parents Town Hall portion of the event with prevention and education message. Assistance will be requested from BSAN members. Contact Rhonda Cook at

Drug Free Community Grant Application

Joe Marks reminded the group that there are three coalition sectors that still need sector leaders for Burke County’s Drug Free Community federal grant program: Business, Parents, and Other Treatment. Those interested in representing one of these sectors should contact Joe at

RxEAP – Medication Lock Boxes Available

Joe also announced that the prescription medication drop boxes are available for distribution to people in a high overdose risk category. We are in need of help distributing these to agencies’ clients and to the general population. Contact Sarah Dergins at to assist with the distribution process or to get involved in the RxEAP task force.

Substance Abuse Treatment 

On Julie Walker’s behalf from Cognitive Connections, Tim Lentz announced that Burke Integrated Health now has IOP treatment as well as intensive substance abuse treatment.

Guest Speaker, Jack McConnell, Treatment Services in Burke’s jails

Joe Marks introduced Jack McConnell, who operates a program of assessments, treatment & education, and followup in Burke County, Catawba, and Lincoln County jail facilities.

He explained how the program developed. He started by doing assessments and screenings the jail, which led to a referral. But then the inmates would sit for months, sometimes years, with no treatment, and he saw that this is where we needed to be doing something. Includes mental health and substance abuse assessments. About 76% of those screened have mental health and about 90% have substance abuse issues. Select committee that involves the nurse, the captain, himself, a medical doctor, and a peer support specialist who work as a team to assess who meets criteria for assessment. They’ve seen about 300 people over the last 6 months. In-house treatment program is an 8-week program which uses a 12-step model. Groups are in Catawba, Lincoln, and Burke-Catawba Jail. Also in Burke jail when needed. Our jail staff have been very supportive and cooperative. Officers are involved as well as treatment team. Inmates get a certificate of completion after 8 week program. Several (11) have been referred to a long-term treatment program after this weekly program.

Stats: 44% under 25 and IV drug users, 31% are women, 85% had parents who were drug or alcohol abusers. Estimated 60% have had some sort of treatment in the past.

Goal: get people when they first come into the jail. We are lacking in followup, trying to focus on this as a priority using peer support, weekly contacts, support for transportation, appointments, connect with community resources.

Questions from the members included how agencies can support the follow-up process. Some mental health agencies are working to consult with and meet with their clients that are in the jails. Agencies and counselors can get in touch with Jack McConnell to work on partnering with their clients.

How can we help as a coalition: Jack said that we could work to support these people when they get out. One of the biggest issues we face are that we send people back into the communities and the systems that they came out of. Challenge is joblessness — most people find it is easiest to go back to selling drugs to support themselves. Working with Hickory area businesses to hire felons; he needs help encouraging businesses to hire convicted felons who have served their time.

Our 8-week program is important and effective, but is not enough for sustained recovery. Member made the point that agencies and hospital are working to get people connected from day 1 upon release with services and tool right off the bat.

Question: what are we doing to work with faith organizations to help with this. What can we do, as pastors, to find assistance by the churches. There is a faith-based program, 6 people are currently involved, with bringing in church organizations to meet with inmates. He says that churches like to work with homeless but are not as open to working with criminals.

Vision of hope: People can change. “Never give up on people until they take their last breath.” Future of the jails program will depend upon sustainable funding for the  continuation of these services. He believes the day will come when mental health and substance use professionals will be in the jails.

March BSAN Meeting

Because of Good Friday in March, next month’s BSAN meeting will be held Thursday, March 24, 2016. Jim VanHecke former Burke Recovery Executive Director and BSAN founder, will be the special guest speaker.

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