In 1985, a North Carolina Legislative Research Commission reported that (1) over 67% of criminal offenses are directly connected to alcohol and drug use, (2) treating addiction is imperative since most offenders will eventually leave prison, and (3) punishment alone does not work. The commission proposed an act to establish a substance abuse program for inmates. In 1987, G.S. 143B-262 was amended thereby creating within the Department of Public Safety a Substance Abuse Program which later became the Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency Programs (ACDP). ACDP plans, administers and coordinates chemical dependency screening and substance abuse treatment services within the Department of Public Safety.
ACDP treats chemical dependency as a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestation. The disease is often progressive and fatal. Until and unless the problem of addiction is dealt with, no other life concern can be addressed.
Programs are designed around "best practices and evidenced based principles" for intervention and treatment, as established by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and SAMSHA, to include:
- Understanding addiction as a brain disease that affects behavior
- Comprehensive assessment and treatment planning with participant involvement
- Exploration of both Criminal and Additive Thinking Patterns
- Utilization of Cognitive-Behavior interventions.... Change Thinking to Change Behavior
- Effort to instill change through repetition, skill practice and role-play
- Use of gender-specific, standardized curriculum
- Adequate treatment duration
- Discharge planning and community coordination
- Provision of regular and consistent clinical staff supervision and training
Clinical staff are registered or credentialed through the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board as required by G.S. 90-113.40. Counselors embrace the twelve core functions of substance abuse counseling: screening, intake, orientation, assessment, treatment planning, counseling, case management, crisis intervention, client education, referral, reports and recordkeeping, and consultation with other professionals.
ACD Programs encompass three major service levels.
- Two community-based residential treatment programs for probationers/parolees: DART Cherry for male probationers/parolees and the Black Mountain Substance Abuse Treatment Center for female probationers/parolees.
- Intermediate treatment for male and female inmates within prison facilities.
- Long-term treatment for male and female inmates within prison facilities.