More Substance Abusers Get Treatment in West Charlotte, N.C.

Fighting Back: Community Initiatives to Reduce Demand for Illegal Drugs and Alcohol

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fighting Back® project in West Charlotte, N.C., sought to combat the problem of substance abuse by developing a single, comprehensive system of treatment and prevention that would reduce the demand for alcohol and illegal drugs in the community.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fighting Back worked to:

  • Increase public awareness about the substance abuse problem.
  • Train people and organizations to refer substance abusers to appropriate treatment services.
  • Increase the number of treatment and recovery options.
  • Develop job-training and workplace substance abuse policies.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Fighting Back: Community Initiatives to Reduce Demand for Illegal Drugs and Alcohol.

Key Results: Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fighting Back:

  • Enlisted the support of 53 out of 80 (66%) neighborhoods in West Charlotte to support existing alcohol and drug programs and services and stimulate new initiatives.
  • Expanded the Ministry of Recovery, a faith-based substance abuse prevention and treatment project.
  • Established Fighting Back Resource Centers in five neighborhoods to provide information, referrals and access to community services.
  • Established the Teen Care Project, Charlotte's first school-based substance abuse treatment program.

Key Evaluation Findings: According to a national evaluation by investigators at Brandeis University, which compared Charlotte to similar sites where Fighting Back was not implemented:

  • Charlotte differed significantly across time from the comparison sites on only one of 25 substance abuse outcome measures—the proportion of residents who reported receiving alcohol or drug treatment during the previous year.
  • The project took a substantial amount of time to find its focus, which was reflected in neighborhood organizing and the development of the Neighborhood Resource Centers.
  • Additionally, the program included strong efforts to mobilize the faith community and improve treatment and relapse programs.