Impact of Alcohol and Substance Use on Guilford County Services

Guilford County is a sprawling urban and peri-urban county in the heart of the Piedmont which includes the Greensboro-High Point MSA as well as incorporated towns of Gibsonville, Jamestown, Oak Ridge, Pleasant Garden, Sedalia, Stokesdale, Summerfield, and Whitsett. It covers an area of 658 square miles and a population of over half a million. It is the third most populated county in NC. It is home to a major airport (Piedmont Triad International), and has a railroad depot located in downtown Greensboro with daily passenger traffic up and down the eastern corridor and in state transportation to Raleigh and Charlotte. The County is home to two major municipalities, Greensboro and High Point, with separate courts, jails and county human services departments in each city. The County is served by three major law enforcement agencies, the County Sheriff’s Department, City of Greensboro Police Department, and the High Point Police Department. The residents of the county and the Guilford County Government have been heavily impacted by substance use. This report was developed by the UNCG in response to a request from Guilford County Government for an assessment of the impact of substance use on the County. The study includes a review of the most recent socio-demographic and economic data derived from local jurisdictional data, proprietary data sets, and state and federal sources.

The study demonstrated the high cost of alcohol and substance use at the neighborhood level in Guilford County in terms of elevated crimes, negative health impacts, loss of life and diminished longevity, and both direct and indirect economic costs. Mapping of substance-related service calls, crimes, overdoses, and deaths provided a clear indication of specific neighborhood-level ‘hotspots’ where alcohol and substance use disproportionately impact residents. Regression analyses also helped to indicate statistically significant factors that contribute to higher county service utilization when controlling for demographics, education, neighborhood economic conditions. In multiple models we saw that crimes (violent, property, and other) were significantly related to increased utilization of county services. Density of alcohol outlets was significantly related to overall utilization of county services and criminal activity, but not statistically related to substance use service call. The overall projected estimated cost burden of substance use to Guilford County was computed at $47,967,241.

View the entire report here: Determination of the Impact of Alcohol and Substance Use on Guilford County Services