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NC Attorney General Josh Stein honored Buncombe County Opioid Response Coordinator Amy Upham with a Dogwood Award in a virtual ceremony Oct. 21.
The Dogwood Awards are given annually to honor North Carolinians dedicated to keeping people safe, healthy, and happy in their communities. Stein notes the award highlights the good work of people across the state quietly working in their communities to create solutions to our most pressing issues.
“Amy Upham is on the front lines of responding to the opioid epidemic in Buncombe County,” said Stein. “She is committed to collaboration and innovation, and her work will go a long way in helping us fight back against the scourge of addiction.”
“I am honored and grateful to be among those who have received this award,” says Upham. As the County’s Opioid Response Coordinator, she manages five Substance Use Disorder (SUD) programs and coordinates efforts to address SUD across departments and community partners, to plan, implement, and evaluate public health SUD interventions.
Stein mentioned the collaborative work happening in Buncombe County, and Upham reflects that she feels lucky to be able to work with multiple County departments and community partners. “Substance use disorder affects everyone in some way, so we all must work together. We need the people most impacted like peer support specialists and family members who have lost loved ones leading the way,” states Upham. “I'm most grateful to work toward a change in the way we treat those with SUD, offering more compassion, hope, and healthcare options.”
“Amy’s dedication and persistence to mobilizing both private and public partners to address the harmful effects of substance use disorder have been heroic,” notes Buncombe County Health and Human Services Director Stoney Blevins. “She is well deserving of this honor.”
Upham dedicates the award to the peer support specialists and family members that help guide our response. She would like to extend special thanks to Emergency Services, Sheriff's Office, Clinical Health Services, Justice Services, Register of Deeds, and Solid Waste, as well as community partners Appalachian Mountain Community Health Centers, Mountain Area Health Education Center, WNCAP, and Sunrise Community for Recovery and Wellness.
Look for a complete list of recipients on the North Carolina Department of Justice website. The fourth Annual Dogwood Awards virtual ceremony is available online.