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Substance Use Disorder

Single white dogwood flower with green leaves poking out form behind,
More than 50,000 people in WNC struggle with Substance Use Disorder and almost half (47.4%) of adults living in the region report that their lives have been negatively affected by substance misuse (by self or someone else). Overdoses claim the lives of more than 200 WNC residents annually. 
Upon its creation, Dogwood Health Trust committed to providing $5 million per year for five years for the purpose of funding programs and services dedicated to addressing substance use disorder for residents of Western North Carolina in conjunction with programs of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. In 2020, Dogwood granted $5 million in work to address substance use disorder in 18 counties and the Qualla Boundary in WNC. By targeting opportunities already based within these counties and supporting work that is locally driven, we are seeing early wins. 

Our Investment: $5 million per year

Our Goals:

  1. Reduce opioid overdose deaths by 40% in 2020. 
  2. Reduction of substance use in minority populations*.
  3. Reduction of substance use in teens*.

*(We are working now to set goals and identify strategies for 2021 and beyond.)

Our Strategies:

  • Pilot program for free, home-delivered NARCAN
  • Expansion of syringe exchange sites into multiple rural counties in WNC
  • Expansion of Naloxone access and availability by filling short-term gaps in supply
  • Expansion of medication-assisted treatment access to justice-involved and other uninsured populations
  • Therapeutic adventure programming to build resiliency in youth
  • Wraparound care for individuals of color in SUD recovery leaving incarceration

Our Desired Outcome(s): Working toward saving 60 lives annually.

Progress Dashboard:


Estimated Annual Deaths Avoided




Counties Served by Grantee Program

in 2020

60 Goal

$5M Goal

18 Goal


Dogwood Health Trust is requesting proposals from counties, municipalities, or the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians located in our 18- county service region in Western North Carolina, including the Qualla Boundary, that would like to conduct opioid-related collaborative planning in their communities in advance of the distribution of proceeds from the historic $26 billion national opioid settlement agreement announced on July 21, 2021.

Dogwood Health Trust awarded $5 million in Substance Use Disorder (SUD) grants in 2020.

As of June 2021, Dogwood has approved $1.75 Million in SUD grants to 11 WNC organizations.

Burke Recovery Staff standing in front of desk with pink text reading "Real Talk with Real People"


Burke Recovery

Burke Recovery helps adolescents and adults in Burke County with substance use prevention and treatment. They also serve the community by staffing and handling daily operations of the Burke Substance Abuse Network (BSAN), a coalition of providers, support groups, related agencies and other stakeholders who network, identify service gaps and conduct strategic planning to reduce substance misuse.



C.A.R.E. identified the Rural Communities Opioid Response – Planning grant available from the Health Resource and Services Administration. C.A.R.E. realized they would be an ideal fit, especially since they had already formed a committee and had the necessary data at the ready.

Four C.A.R.E staff standing in front of sign that says "The Opioid Response Project"