Community Engagement

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The opioid epidemic can be viewed like a swiftly moving river that has a lot of momentum and requires a comprehensive and coordinated community effort to dam and redirect. Community awareness and prevention initiatives, like North Carolina's More Powerful NC campaign, are upstream efforts that help slow the river so that family and community members don't fall into addiction in the first place.

MAHEC’s medical experts and educators regularly participate in community town hall meetings, youth summits, and public presentations to increase community awareness about the importance of

  • Safe alternatives for pain management
  • Health risks associated with opioids and other substances
  • Safe use, storage, and disposal of prescription medications
  • Substance use prevention in schools
  • Naloxone and harm reduction strategies to prevent overdose deaths
  • Reducing stigma and barriers to substance use disorder treatment

To request a speaker or educational program for your organization or community event, please fill out our Opioid Education Request form.

Community Education

Closer Than You Think: Buncombe County’s campaign raises awareness about risks associated opioid use. Includes educational materials, a speaker’s bureau, and local treatment and recovery resources.

More Powerful NC: This statewide campaign provides guidance on the safe storage, use and disposal of pain medications as well as overdose prevention, treatment and recovery resources.

Partnership for Substance Free Youth in Buncombe County: This coalition hosts community awareness events and has compiled a variety of educational resources to support teens, parents, schools, and the community.

Crisis and Community Resources

C3356 Comprehensive Care Center (Asheville)

Urgent care for mental health and substance use crises, 8:00 am - 8:00 pm. Crisis Line: 828-254-2700

Mobile Crisis Management

On-site intervention and stabilization of mental health, substance use, and developmental disability crises. 24-Hour Crisis Service: 1-888-573-1006.

NC 2-1-1

Links to local resources including food, housing, utilities, counseling, healthcare and more. Dial 2-1-1 or 888 - 892-1162.

Vaya Health

Supports mental health, substance use, and intellectual/developmental disability needs in Western North Carolina. 24-Hour Hotline: 1-800-849-6127.

Naloxone (Narcan®)

Local Pharmacies: Many pharmacies can provide you with a Narcan® kit without a prescription. The kit, which can help reverse an accidental opioid overdose, may be covered by your insurance. Just ask your pharmacist.

The Steady Collective

297 Haywood Street, Suite #2, Asheville, NC 28801, 800-898-5801

Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP)

554 Fairview Road, Asheville, NC 28803, 828-252-7489

Peer Support Services

Sunrise Community for Recovery and Wellness

297 Haywood St, Asheville, NC 28801, 828-552-3858

Pill Disposal

Asheville Police Department lobby

Buncombe County Courthouse & Sherriff’s Office lobbies

Area Pharmacies

STD and Hepatitis C Testing

Buncombe County Health Department

Free testing by appointment: 828-250-5000


Free and confidential testing by appointment: 828-252-7489

Syringe Services Programs

Syringe services programs have been shown to reduce the transmission of serious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C and increase the likelihood that substance users will seek treatment services.

Buncombe County Health and Human Services

Integrated and mobile; call or text Tanasia Boyd for details: (828) 747-9483


Asheville, Franklin, and far west WNC: 828-775-4873

The Steady Collective

Mobile distribution in Asheville.

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