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Please join our efforts in Southwest VA to positively combat the substance abuse epidemic that has so negatively impacted our region. A united voice can make a difference. Prevention has significantly reduced the “litter” and “smoking” problem in our county and together we can definitely change the drug culture area as well! Are you or someone you know looking for help with substance abuse? Do you need resources relevant to the prevention, treatment and recovery from substance abuse? Or would you like more information on how you can become involved as a community member to prevent substance abuse? Go to to become involved.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Easy Strategy to Help Prevent Underage Drinking

Mountain Youth Drama, a prevention theatre group in Southwest VA is taking a stand against drinking and driving! Sign a drug - free contract and earn a chance to win 50 dollars.

Motivating kids to get involved in community projects can often be challenging! Simplification and easy tasks to involve hands on activities makes for smooth sailing. Friday night high school football in America is a season that embodies the real joy of small town living. Our community wanted to forgo the usual homecoming parade this fall and try an approach that included more involvement from the community. Culturally, you have a captivated community ready to enjoy some time with each other. Unfortunately, when a community is at a loss in providing alternative activities for youth during this season, "a six pack and a back road" becomes the activity of choice.

Students decided to hold a block party to attract folks to the high school campus prior to their traditional bon fire the Thursday night before the homecoming game. Local bands, community organizations, churches & groups and of course high school clubs all had the chance to operate booths to fund raise and add to the spirit of homecoming. The school also hosted inflatable games, wagon rides, a dunking booth and games such as the ever popular "corn hole".

Mountain Youth Drama, developed a simple strategy to add to the event as well as provide a forum to encourage kids to be drug free.! Enjoy their video and use their idea in your own community. Together....We Can Make A Difference!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Prescription Drug Epidemic Documentary Release Feb 2012

Documentary Trailer

Prescription Drug Epidemic is a documentary on a rural communities experience with the enormous surge in prescription drug deaths in Southwest Virginia.  ASAC: Appalachian Substance Abuse Coalition for Prevention
Treatment & Recovery  serving the  Virginia counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell,  Wise and Washing ton and the cities of Bristol and Norton ,was developed in 2001 as a region's response to this crisis.
Hundreds of deaths have led to economic decline, higher than state average crime rates and the destruction of Southwest Virginia’s stronghold...the family.  Understand the problems associated with prescription drug use and watch the pioneering strategies this coalition and its related communities implement. Drug deaths begin to decline as the coalition embraces their slogan, “Substance Abuse Prevention...Its Our Community ...Its Our Responsibility.”
Run Time: 42minutes

 ASAC: Appalachian Substance Abuse Coalition for Prevention Treatment and Recovery would like to invite you to take part in a regional prevention campaign, ”Substance Abuse Prevention…Our Community Our Responsibility”. Our goal is to decrease the number of individuals using prescription drugs in our region.   We are providing you with the free locally filmed documentary, The Prescription Drug Epidemic; A Coalitions Journey, to help you in your efforts to understand the prescription drug problem and discover ways you can make a difference in the areas of prevention, treatment or recovery. The documentary is also available to anyone who requests,while supplies last by emailing

With the documentary you will receive a booklet outlining talking points that can be used with the following target populations:

1.    Physicians
2.    Employers
        3.    Youth & Parents
4.    College Students and
5.    Faith-Based Organizations   

  So many lives have been affected and many more are searching for ways to become involved to turn this problem around. We are asking for your help to not only promote community involvement but incorporate the viewing of this film throughout the region through  community coalition activities, recovery programs, educational activities, drug free work place programs, and public viewings such as lobby’s, health fairs and school events. The DVD includes the entire 42 minute documentary and a 8 minute trailer as well for smaller events.

We are also offering the DVD free to all our web friends across the country to support your community coalition efforts as well. 
Together we ARE making a difference!

Requests for a FREE DVD of the documentary can be made to Lori Gates-Addison, 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Parenting...Substance Abuse and the College Years

 Dedicated to the health and well being of my three boys.

As hard as parents students today more than any other time in history, are more at risk of using drugs than ever before. Exposure through the media and the growing epidemic in American culture of prescription pill and methamphetamine use to the creative ways to experiment such as candy soaked in Vodka, to new the highs of synthetic drugs and bath salts are all evidence of this risk. The rise of this culture has almost made the consumption of alcohol the lesser of two evils in many peoples eyes. Take a good look at binge drinking behavior and college students you will be reminded not to stray n this direction!

So what is a parent to do? How do you prepare your child for these very real and expected challenges that they will inevitably be faced with? The typical adult response is to restrict access or exposure to these situations. You might want to consider something different as this approach obviously has not been effective as seen by the epidemic death rates in recent years of prescription drug deaths and related problems associated with binge drinking.

First , from a young age it is important to be direct and give accurate information about substance abuse. Secondly, we know that young people  who are college age are developmentally looking for power and are  willing to take risks. Most have a desire for purpose in their lives and are seeking a sense of belonging. Stress during this time brings the desire to escape difficult situations even if momentarily.

To avoid the easy migration towards college age substance abuse,consider doing the following for your child when addressing the issues and needs above:

·        Create opportunities and outlets to experience acceptable risks
·        Provide outlets where young people can experience purpose 
·        Provide outlets that nurture a sense of belonging
·        Make the concept of resiliency the foundation of your parenting by raising a child with the ability to problem solve, share a sense of community, belonging, and have healthy bonds to supportive adults.

Our purpose as caregivers is not to rein our young adults in, (although they need healthy expectations and consistent boundaries) but to nurture them to choose more opportunities and healthy options. Young people who have a strong family, a strong community of friends and adults who are invested in them and have a strong faith in who they are and who they want to be, will be the best equipped to deal with the dangers inherent in the current drug culture in America.

Remember …”It’s Our Community It’s Our Responsibility”….together we can make a difference in raising today’s college student.

Lori Gates-Addison, LCSW, PS


The Truth About Adderall


College Binge Drinking 



Each day...2,500 kids ages 12-17 try drugs for the first time.....they are 42% are less likely to try  drugs if their parents talk to them about drugs...





Harms and Consequences of Underage Drinking 


Learning More About Synthetic Drugs



Vodka-infused "boozy bears" pack a powerful punch and are difficult for parents and teachers to detect.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Southwest Virginia Drug Take Back
November 12

Hurry.....don't forget to participate....The American Medicine Chest will take place this Saturday from 10:00-2:00 at the Russell County Government Center (behind Wendy's) in Lebanon and the Walmart in Pounding Mill!5 Collection Sites in Wise County and 1 Collection Site in Lee County. LOCAL COLLECTION SITES: Walmart in Norton; Wildcat Pharmacy in Pound; Food City in Big Stone Gap, Coeburn, Wise and Pennington Gap!
dditional Resources on Medication Safety:
Medication Safety – a toolkit for families – protect your family: get the most from your medications
Medication Use Safety Training (MUST) for Seniors™ program is designed as an interactive, national initiative to promote safe and appropriate medicine use by enabling older adults to avoid medication misuse, recognize and manage common side effects, and improve medicine use knowledge, attitudes, and skills to avoid medication errors.
  1. Office of National Drug Control Policy. Teens and Prescription Drugs. Available at Accessed on February 26, 2010.
  2. US News and World Report. Medicines Top Source of Kids’ Poisonings. Available at treatment/ articles/2009/08/04/medicines-top-source-of-kids-poisonings.html. Accessed on February 26, 2010.

Friday, November 4, 2011

D.A.R.T. Recovery Drop In Center Needs Your Help

D.A.R.T. Recovery Drop In Center Needs Your Help
Clintwood Virginia

D.A.R.T stands for Drug Abusers Recover Today. Clintwood Virginia, in the heart of the prescription drug epidemic, is the location of the first recovery program of its kind in Virginia. Over 100 participants rely on the support and open door policy of the center to maintain their recovery.  

Southern hospitality is at the heart of Appalachian culture and the D.A.R.T center embraces the essence of that saying in a region that desperately needs programs that support recovery from addiction and abuse. Marlene Stanley a peer recovery Specialist helped start the program over a year ago with a grant for $38,00.”Some of the people that come into this center have no food, have no income," she said. "They get a meal here. They get a sandwich, a cup of coffee. They get somebody that says 'I love you' as they come through the door. That will be gone." states Stanley.

Since the drug epidemic started 10 years ago hundreds of Southwest Virginians have died. Marlene and many other revering folks have had to be creative to meet the needs of recovering folks and their families. Less than 4 years ago Marlene had eight people participating in recovery programs in Clintwood. That number has climbed way above 150. Marlene and others like her have been a part of the regional ASAC coalition as well as local coalitions fighting hard to expand prevention, treatment and recovery programs in Southwest Virginia. The dedication, compassion, creativity and “southern hospitality” that the D.A.R.T. center provides to recovering folks is invaluable.

The program cost $1,500 a month to operate. The program will close by January 2012 if funds are not secured. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation or offer support to the program, please contact Marlene Stanley at or find D.A.R.T  on Facebook

Together We Can Make a Difference!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

SW Virginia Drug Abuse Cast in Workforce Terms

The coalition has released a 68-page plan of action to address the prescription drug abuse problem. Its recommendations include increased outreach and treatment programs and the use of drug courts.

By: One Care of SWVA serving as a consortium of 16 substance abuse coalitions working throughout the 21 counties and cities in the Southwest region of Virginia.

Strengthening Families Program In SW Virginia

ASAC promotes the Strengthening Families Program to help with substance abuse. Having been raised in a Southwest Virginia family I know how important it is to have family values.  Substance Abuse has taken away some of the things we grew up to love most about our families.   Family meant someone always having your back, support when educau needed it most, never sharing joy or sorrow alone, and knowing no matter what family would never leave you.  We have to bring back those family values in our communities in order to reduce substance abuse.  At Highlands Community Services we have seen the positive results the Strengthening Families Program has had on youth and their families.  The Strengthening Families Program is a science-based parenting program, teaching parenting skills, children's life skills, and family life skills specifically designed for high-risk families.  Providing family based programs has to be part of the plan to reduce substance abuse in Southwest Virginia.
To learn more go to

by: Lisa Topshee, CPP
Program Manager, Prevention & Education
Highlands Center for Behavioral Health