How we serve the community:

  • Inform the public about alcohol and other drug related issues
  • Provide information and referral to community resources
  • Identify community needs concerning alcohol and drug abuse and find ways to meet them through coordinated services
  • Create home, school and community environments in which to raise healthy, drug-free kids
  • Equip parents with the necessary skills and knowledge to help their children fight the temptation of alcohol and drug use
  • Provide healthy and entertaining activities to participate in that exclude alcohol and other drug use
  • Educate and empower youth to advocate for issues concerning alcohol and dug use that negatively affect their health and daily lives
  • Advocate for policy and environmental changes that help create an environment in which young people are better able to make healthy decisions concerning alcohol and drug use

General Membership:

  • School Administration
  • Parents
  • Healthcare Providers
  • Local colleges and universities
  • Social Services
  • Public Health
  • Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Local Businesses
  • Faith-based Organizations
  • Law Enforcement
  • Youth serving Organizations
  • Youth

Examples of Executed Programs/Initiatives:

Don’t Buy, Don’t Supply Initiative

A comprehensive, community-based approach to the prevention of underage drinking that specifically targets retailers who may sell alcohol to underage customers and adults who may purchase/supply alcohol for underage drinkers.  This initiative combines education and awareness with environmental and policy changes.  Strategies targeting retailers include, but are not limited to, working with law enforcement to implement Responsible Alcohol Sales training and compliance checks and providing signage and educational materials to alcohol retailer establishments.  Several activities targeting parents/guardians include conducting shoulder tap surveys; promoting our Don’t Buy, Don’t Supply logo and message through a variety of modes such as billboards, yard signs, social media, newspaper, signage and brochures; and the establishment of an underage drinking prevention tip line.

Stick to the Law

The right laws and regulations can minimize the occurrence of underage drinking, but community and citizen activism is essential to the implementation of such laws and regulations. Stick to the Law is designed to support existing and encourage new community activism, cooperative efforts, and community capacity building to fight underage drinking and its related problems, specifically adults providing alcohol to minors. The project not only seeks to educate citizens, businesses, educational institutions, health organizations, law enforcement agencies, and governmental authorities on the problems of underage drinking, but also ensures that everyone will receive a consistent message about the law and will motivate efforts to bring about change.

Stick to the Law seeks to educate those persons 21 years of age or older who might illegally purchase alcohol and provide it to minors. Stickers displaying a warning message about the penalties for furnishing alcohol to minors are placed on all multi-packs of beer, wine coolers, and other alcohol products that might appeal to underage drinkers. The impact of the sticker is increased by media coverage of the event and by permanent signs to be displayed by participating licensees. The project represents a partnership between youth, licensees, concerned parents and community members, prevention professionals and law enforcement with the goal of educating persons 21 and older of the underage laws and raising public awareness about underage drinking.

Operation Medicine Drop

The coalition served as one of the key community partners in establishing Cleveland County’s Operation Medicine Drop Event. This is a prescription and over-the-counter drug take-back event in which individuals can safely dispose of their expired, unused prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications and keep them out of the wrong hands, thereby helping to prevent unintentional poisonings and prescription drug abuse.  Furthermore, these events help ensure the proper disposal of medications thus preventing the contamination of soil, streams, rivers and groundwater.  These drug take-back events are held four times a year in conjunction with quarterly drive-thru rabies vaccination events in various locations throughout Cleveland County.

Teens Advocating Change (TAC)

A youth-led advocacy group initiated and supported by the coalition which aims to reduce underage drinking by specifically targeting alcopops—sweetened, often bubbly alcoholic beverages such as Smirnoff Ice and Mike’s Hard Lemonade that are specifically targeted towards underage drinkers, especially females.  TAC consists of 11th and 12th grade students from all four Cleveland County high schools who have worked together to develop a presentation consisting of a PowerPoint presentation, DVD, and handouts used to educate the community about the dangers associated with alcopops, as well as to advocate for policy changes to help address this issue.  TAC has presented to such groups as the Cleveland County Board of Health, Rotary, Alliance for Health Board of Directors and partners, various substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals, faith-based groups, and numerous other community and civic organizations.

PRIDE Survey

The PRIDE Survey was developed in 1982 to help local schools measure student alcohol, tobacco and other drug use.  PRIDE Surveys now measure behavior on many crucial issues that can affect learning: family, discipline, safety, activities, gangs, and more.  The PRIDE Survey (formerly the Student View Survey) is an anonymous survey we have been conducting in Cleveland County Schools in grades 6, 9, and 12 every three years since 1996.  Results of the survey assist program planners, school administration, health educators, policy makers, and many others to develop data-driven prevention programming to best serve our students and community.

From Awareness to Action: Preventing Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medicine Abuse in our Community

In response to the significant increase in the misuse and abuse of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications among young people ages 12-17 in Cleveland County, the SAPC developed a PowerPoint presentation, informational rack cards targeting both parents and teenagers, and flyers to raise awareness about this issue.  The presentation was presented to numerous entities and agencies throughout the county including the Department of Social Services, Cleveland County Schools Counselors and School Health Nurses, various church and parent groups, Cleveland County Health Department staff, the Minority Health Council, Alliance for Health Partners and Board of Directors, Juvenile Court Counselors, and others.  The goal of this initiative was to not only raise awareness on the severity of the problem, but to also provide clear steps parents and professionals can take to help prevent prescription and OTC medicine abuse in our community.  To assist in spreading our message and raising awareness among the community at large, a 5’x8’ banner and 2 4’x6’ boards featuring prescription and OTC abuse prevention messages were developed and have been placed in various highly frequented public locations throughout the county.

Think Again PSA Contest

The Think Again PSA Contest is an annual contest sponsored and coordinated by the coalition in which middle school and high school aged students work in teams to produce 30 second public services announcements featuring substance abuse prevention messages.  The conceptual model represented by the theme, “Think Again” is grounded in research that demonstrates the importance of perceived social norms in young people’s decisions about drug use.  According to the social norms theory, young people often erroneously believe that the majority of their peers engage in unhealthy behaviors, a misperception that may motivate young people to increase their own unhealthy behaviors including the use of drugs.  The overall grand prize winning team has the opportunity to work with local professionals to produce a final PSA that is aired on numerous local and Charlotte viewing area television stations.

Take it Back Community Briefing

A youth-led community briefing designed to educate community leaders about the issues facing youth and underage drinking.  Adolescents Against Alcohol (AAA), a small group of passionate 11th and 12th grade students from Crest High School, conducted a survey of the Cleveland County community to help determine some of the leading factors that influence underage drinking.  The youth presented findings from their survey to parents, students, community leaders, policy makers, and other various professionals and stakeholders in the form of a Town Hall Meeting.  Participants were encouraged to take action by supporting specific policy and environmental changes to address issues concerning youth access to alcohol and the placement of alcohol in local vendors.  Furthermore, a panel of experts including a judge, law enforcement officer, emergency department physician, and teen survivor of an alcohol related car crash were present to answer questions posed by participants.   

Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week

This is a week that is designed to allow the community to unite and take a visible stand against drug use.  The Shelby Star’s Newspapers in Education sponsors an essay contest for grades 4-8 in which students are encouraged to write an essay on their “anti-drug”.  All essays are submitted to and judged by the Cleveland County Health Department Health Education Department.  Two winners from each grade are selected and their essays are published in the Shelby Star.  Additionally, red ribbons are distributed to all school, health department, EMS, and ER staff to wear throughout the week.

Our Affiliations

For more information, you may contact

DeShay Oliver, MPH

Coordinator of Health Services 
Cleveland County Public Health Center
200 South Post Road
Shelby, NC 28152
(p) 980-484-5199 
(f) 980-484-5220

Jamie Todd

Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Project Coordinator
Cleveland County Public Health Center

200 South Post Road
Shelby, North Carolina 28152
(p) 980-484-5335

This website was developed, in part, under grant number 1H79SP020340-01 from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The views, opinions, and content of this publication are those of the authors and contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of ONDCP, SAMHSA, or HHS, and should not be construed as such.Copyright 2015 Cleveland County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition | All Rights Reserved | The Awen Group