Brunswick County Health Services encourages public to take part in Substance Use Prevention Month


Brunswick County Health Services encourages public to take part in Substance Use Prevention Month


BOLIVIA, N.C. – Over 80 percent of young people ages 10 to 18 years old say their parents are the leading influence on their decision about whether they should or shouldn’t drink alcohol. Yet many parents do not have these important conversations. As part of our commitment to supporting local youth, Brunswick County Health Services is raising awareness about National Substance Use Prevention Month.

Since 2011, October has been recognized as National Substance Use Prevention Month in the United States. Organized through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), this year’s theme focuses on encouraging parents and caregivers to take part in SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign.

The campaign is designed to help equip parents and caregivers with the information, skills, and confidence needed to talk with youths about the risks of underage drinking and substance use.

According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, alcohol continues to be the most widely misused substance among our nation’s young people. However, use of marijuana, non-medical use of prescription drugs, abuse of over-the-counter medications, and illicit drug use have become increasingly prevalent among youths in recent years.

This past March, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that an average of nine North Carolinians died each day from a drug overdose in 2020, a 40% increase from the previous year.

The number of drug overdose deaths — from illicit substances and/or medications — in North Carolina increased from 2,352 deaths in 2019 to 3,304 deaths in 2020. There were also nearly 15,000 emergency department visits related to drug overdoses in 2020. Brunswick County saw increases in overdoses as well.

“Substance abuse is more prevalent in Brunswick County than people may realize,” Brunswick County Health Services Director Cris Harrelson said. “Over 500 people were involved in drug overdose-related situations and 458 people were convicted for driving while impaired in Brunswick County in the last year. We’re hoping we can spread awareness to as many people as possible this month.”

Throughout the month, the County will share information regarding substance use prevention, highlighting these four focus areas:

Here are some of the ways you can participate and stay engaged with Brunswick County this October during Substance Use Prevention Month:

More information about 2022 National Substance Use Prevention Month is at


Additional resources for those seeking help:

Media Inquiries

For media inquiries, contact the Communications Director at 910.253.2995 or email