Be sure to bookmark this page and check back regularly for substance use resources and updates!

The misuse and abuse of alcohol, over-the-counter medications, illicit drugs and tobacco affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. To address the issues in our area, Vaya Health has joined with community partners to form the Western North Carolina Substance Use Alliance.

The WNC SU Alliance aims to increase collaboration across agencies involved in substance use prevention and treatment, leverage resources to maximize efforts, reduce duplication and establish top priorities for the region. This includes coordinating efforts to increase access to treatment and recovery services, strengthen prevention and education efforts and examine the impact of substance use on overall health and economic development, as a result of lost worker productivity. Alliance members plan to focus on four key areas:

  • Expanding medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Enhancing substance use treatment for pregnant women
  • Strengthening the continuum of treatment and crisis services for adults
  • Strengthening the continuum of treatment and prevention services for children and adolescents

The Alliance is chaired by Brian Ingraham, CEO of Vaya Health. Efforts will focus on the 23 counties Vaya currently serves and be guided by both the 2016 report of the N.C. Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use and the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health.

Watch as WLOS & Evan Donovan help us shine a light on this critical issue.

Alliance aims for opioid addicts

Steering Committee



Dr. Blake Fagan Assistant Director, Family Medicine Residency Program, MAHEC
Sonya Greck Sr. Vice President, BH Services, Mission Hospital
Dr. Jim Hartye Behavioral Health Medical Director, Mission Hospital
Mandy Stone Assistant Buncombe County Manager
Jim Holland Business Officer, Buncombe County
Brian Bair Director of Behavioral Health in NC, Duke Life Point
Alice Salthouse CEO, High Country Community Health (FQHC)
Judy Johannsen Vaya Health Board Member  (CFAC representative)
Fred Brason Executive Director, Project Lazarus
Jeanne Duncan President, RHA Health Services, Vaya Health Board Member
Ronnie Beale Macon County Commissioner, Vaya Health Board Member
Steve Smith Health Director, Henderson County Health Department
Leslie McCrory Vaya Health SU Consultant
Danielle Arias Child SU Tx/Prevention Sub-Committee, Director & ESTR Program, RHA
Chad Husted Adult SU Tx/Continuum/Crisis Sub-Committee, Regional Director, October Road
Dr. Craig Martin Chief Medical Officer, Vaya Health
Christina Carter Chief Operating Officer, Vaya Health
Brian Ingraham Chief Executive Officer, Vaya Health
Doug Trantham Director of Behavioral Health Service, Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority
TBD Representative of Judicial System/Criminal Justice or Law Enforcement




Medication Assisted Treatment Dr. Blake Fagan, Chair
Elizabeth Flemming, MAHEC, Principal Staff
Jesse Smathers, Vaya Health, Principal Staff
Pregnant SU Services Leslie McCrory, Chair


Celeste Ordway, Vaya Health, Principal Staff
Adult Treatment Continuum/Crisis Services Chad Husted, Chair
  Jana Aitken, Vaya Health, Principal Staff
Child Treatment Continuum/Prevention Danielle Arias, Chair
Brenda Chapman, Vaya Health, Principal Staff
Beth Nelson, CCR, Principal Staff

If you or a loved one is dealing with addiction, Vaya is here to help. Call 1-800-849-6127 any time, 24/7, to find help where you live. Our Access to Care line is staffed by qualified professionals to get you the help you need when you need it.

Prevention and treatment can make a difference. We know that the development of a substance use disorder is complex, involving interactions between biological and environmental risk factors. Many who have a substance use disorder can also have one or more psychiatric disorders. This knowledge has led to the development of effective ways to intervene. Parents and other concerned adults can help to bring prevention strategies to their homes and communities. They can be alert to signs of substance abuse, and seek treatments that can help.

The goal of this resource center is to offer members, families, providers and our communities with information for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse.

Substance Use Resources 

Relevant to all groups:

Vaya Health 2016 Gaps Analysis Report

NC Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use Report

This is the first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health reviews what we know about substance misuse and how you can use that knowledge to address substance misuse and related consequences.  It speaks to prevention through treatment and recovery –

Link to a 1/5/17  webinar to learn how to incorporate key findings from the Surgeon General’s report.

ASAM Weekly ( – This is a very good weekly resource that always has good information.  You might want to sign up to receive it regularly. There are stories that cover the full continuum from prevention through treatment through recovery.

Specific to:

Medication Assisted Treatment

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) developed this National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use to provide information on evidence-based treatment of opioid use disorder –

Federal Guidelines for Opioid Treatment Programs

We want to be sure that you know that SAMHSA’s  Decisions in Recovery: Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder  was released on December 15, 2016 and it is an innovative multimedia tool for people who want information about the role of medications in treating opioid use disorder. Decisions in Recovery focuses on “whether” medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an informed treatment choice by a person in or seeking recovery from an opioid use disorder; and if so, “which” medication is the best fit for that person.  Individuals facing decisions about their own recovery and peers, clinicians, and others providing recovery support services can use Decisions in Recovery. It also includes a printable handbook that mirrors the web-based content.

Women and Perinatal SU Treatment

Link to article about the rise in infant drug dependence in rural areas

Western North Carolina Statistics

  • Statistics for 2014 show that 17 of 23 WNC counties, particularly those along the Tennessee and southern border, had high rates of fatal drug overdoses – more than 20 deaths for every 100,000 residents.
  • Data for 2015 show that 10 of the state’s 17 counties with the highest rate of opioids prescribed per resident are in western N.C. Only four WNC counties (Buncombe, Jackson, Watauga and Alleghany) have rates lower than the state average.
  • Macon County had the highest rate of opioid pills per resident in the state (average of 258 pills per resident). Swain County had the highest rate of opioids prescribed per resident in 2015 in NC (average of 1.9 prescriptions per resident).
  • Since 2013, there have been 760 confirmed overdose reversals in the Asheville area – the second-highest number in the state, behind Wilmington.

Prescription Rates by County

There’s no getting around the fact that the abuse of prescription painkillers is a huge problem in the U.S. Prescription drug overdoses now kill more people each year than car crashes.

But the overdose risks vary quite a bit depending on where in the country, state and county you live. One reason is that how often doctors prescribed the drugs, such as Percocet, Vicodin and generic opioids, varies widely.

View how your county fares regarding prescriptions:

NC Prescription Rates by County

County Community Health Assessments

Founded on the principles of collaboration, community mobilization, and empowerment, community health assessments are used to identify priority health issues and to plan interventions to build healthier communities with the ultimate goal of making North Carolina one of the healthiest states in the nation.

The following are links to the most recent Community Health Assessment from the 23 counties in the Vaya Healthcare catchment area.  Most are from 2015, but a few are from earlier years. On these pages, which were developed as a guide for local communities wanting to address health issues in their county, you can:

Learn more and begin making a difference in your community!

Call 1-800-849-6127 toll free 24/7 to obtain services and support for mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse. Members can request materials in Spanish or English.

Llamar al número gratuito 1-800-849-6127 24/7 para obtener servicios y apoyo a la salud mental, discapacidades de desarrollo y abuso de sustancias. Los miembros pueden solicitar materiales en español o Inglés.