BSAN Meeting Minutes July 29 2016

Forty-five people were present at the Morganton Community House on Friday, July 29, 2016 for this 7:30am breakfast meeting.

BSAN member Dorian Palmer offered the invocation.

Joseph Marks, Executive Director at Burke Recovery, welcomed the group requested updates from the group:

Montreat College –  Mike Davis, Director of Admissions for Montreat College, announced that the fall semester admissions process is still in session and applications are still being accepted. Montreal College offers their mental health and counseling programs at the Foothills Higher Education Center in Morganton.

September Recovery Month – Joe Marks presented information about this national effort meant to recognize this disease of addiction, which affects homes, families, and workplace. The other side of addiction is recovery, and as a community we will celebrate recovery on Sunday, September 18 from 2-6 on the Historic Morganton Courthouse Square. The event is seeking sponsors and also participants to set up information booths at the event. Agencies who are interested should contact Joe at People can get involved with planning by attending the weekly planning meetings at 4pm at Burke Recovery office on White Street.

Meeting Topic – RxEAP Task Force – Joe Marks introduced Sarah Dergins, who coordinates BSAN’s SPF-PFS Grant from SAMHSA, which funds Burke County’s efforts at reducing the misuse of prescription meditation.

Sarah Dergins detailed data around our recent and current prescription med situation. Burke County is identified at one of 13 counties that had high levels of non-medical use of prescription drugs. Some key data includes:

  • In 2015 Burke County had 157 unintended drug poisonings.
  • In 2015 Burke County had the 7th highest drug mortality rate in NC
  • In 2016, Burke County already has the 2nd highest drug mortality rate in NC
  • 8% of youth report non-medical misuse of prescription drugs in the past 30 days.
  • 26% of youth report non-medical misuse of prescription drugs in their lifetime.

WHY does Burke County have these high numbers?

  • Accessibility and Low Perception of Harm
  • High prescribing rates and not being locked up in the home.
  • Low family/parental disapproval.
  • In 2014, 58% of DWI reported by NC Hwy Patrol in Burke County were not alcohol related.

In 2015, Prescription Education, Awareness, Prevention (RxEAP) task force was created by BSAN members. At this time, Carolinas Healthcare System Blue Ridge had already organized a group of physicians around this problem, so RxEAP and these physicians united their efforts.

RxEAP still needs people from the following sectors of our community: Dentists/Oral surgeons, PA’s, Broughton staff, community physicians and psychiatrists, youth task force, and youth-serving organizations.

Sarah introduced Dr. Edward Plyler, chief medical officer for Carolinas Health Care Blue Ridge and BSAN RxEAP task force member. Dr. Plyler discussed the task force’s priorities 1) Limiting Access and 2) Changing Perceptions.

Priority #1 – Limiting Access

Dr. Plyler explained that 20 years ago, the Joint Commission, which accredits healthcare organizations and programs in the US, determined “pain” to be the 5th vital sign, which is how hospitals and medical practice manage care. This is when wider spread use of prescription medications for pain became prevalent. Because of the consequences of such wide spread over-prescribing, the NC Medical Board is now navigating solutions and changing prescribing practices, especially around the prescription monitoring data base. In January of 2017, a new law will require practicing physicians and PA’s to take one hour per year, or 3 hours over 3 years, in opioid prescribing. Burke County’s efforts led by CHSBR are shifting to Burke County Medical Society, who are becoming more active. For resource information on best practices, including online complaint form and decision-making resources, the NC Medical Board website is

Sarah reported that she and Joe Marks have been visiting the 38 CHSBR physician’s practices delivering awareness posters for exam rooms. Table Rock Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Richard Owensby has been working with local pharmacists brining lock boxes to their inventory and providing awareness rack cards — 2000 so far. Billboards have been up county-wide and will be up through December , averaging 12000-30000 views per week. The Burke Adult Collaborative has handed out lock boxes to people at high risk along with talking points for agencies. PSA’s are going out through Big Dawg radio. Strong partnerships between Burke Sheriff’s Dept and BSAN have helped quantify the problem and remove prescription medications from the streets. Between them and the Burke Health Department, Operation Medicine Drop and the two permanent lock boxes have collected the following: In March 2010 – 10.67lbs., in July 2016 – 350lbs. Total collection has been 2,594.25lbs in 6 years — an equivalent to 1,945,687.5 pills. (at approx 750 pills per lb)

Priority #2 – Changing Perceptions

RxEAP is enlisting community partnerships in order to do educational sessions around the dangers of misusing prescription meds. Education and awareness also starts in the schools; due to the work of BSAN partners, Burke Recovery schools drug counselor, and Burke County Public Schools, the number of drug violations dropped 33% between the last two school years. As a sign of this growing awareness in youth, Burke County had 55 students submit prevention posters in a three-county poster competition — the highest number of submissions by far in the competition.

Ongoing efforts include expanding the education reach including PTA and elementary school youth, creating a youth task force, and reaching prescribers who are not MD’s. Educational efforts will include medical safety lessons.

Work in Burke County through BSAN partners is being recognized by SAMHSA — Burke County was selected by our grantor state representative to be interviews for a CAPT Connect newsletter.

Those who would like to get involved with the RxEAP Task Force or schedule a presentation for their organization should contact Sarah Dergins at


August BSAN Meeting

Next month’s BSAN meeting will be held Friday, August 26, 2016.

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