Metro Drug Coalition
MDC is a nonprofit organization established over 30 years ago by a joint resolution of City of Knoxville and Knox County to unite policy makers and leaders to address community substance abuse issues.
A healthy and safe community, free of substance misuse.
Improve the health of the greater Knoxville community by reducing the use of alcohol and drugs through policy, systems and environment change.
We strive to be the leading influence on substance abuse issues by identifying solutions and providing direction to the community
We promise to adhere to the highest moral and ethical standards in every aspect of substance abuse prevention
We seek to mobilize and engage all sectors of the community to work together on preventing substance abuse
MDC is impacting our community through:
- MDC Grass Roots Coalition
- Prescription Drug Task Force
- Active Parenting Training Program
- Lifeline Project to increase availability of recovery support groups
- Drug-Free Workplace Training Program
- Knox County Schools student/teacher substance abuse prevention education
- Engaging youth through alcohol/drug-free activities and initiatives
- Born Drug-Free Tennessee Campaign
- Naloxone Training
- Mental Health and First Aid Training
- SBIRT (Screening Brief Intervention Referral to Treatment) Training for medical providers
- Variety of other substance abuse prevention initiatives
History of the Organization
MDC IS BORN
Scott Dean, a prominent business man whose family was touched by substance abuse, founded Metropolitan Drug Commission in early 1986. The organization was co-sponsored by the city, county and Chamber of Commerce.
BECOMING A NON-PROFIT
Community Leaders receive non-profit charter on June 20, 1986 as Metropolitan Drug Commission. They were charged to establish an alcohol and other drug umbrella organization for Knoxville/Knox County.
FINDING THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Jill Griffin, from the staff at Peninsula Treatment Center, was hired as the first executive director on October 15, 1989.
MDC receives fiveyear grant from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, Department of HHS to survey the community, determine needs and provide a community forum to develop a plan of action to reduce substance abuse problems in the community.
OUT ON OUR OWN
The CSAP grant was transferred to MDC so issues could be addressed from a broad community base, distinct from any one political entity.
BUILDING AN ARMY
From October 1990 - December 1995, grant funding provided MDC with a staff of up to nine people, including a full-time executive director.
Jill Griffin’s departs from MDC, and Robert Vint becomes the new
CONTINUING THE CLIMB
Catherine Thatcher Brunson became the third Executive Director for MDC.
MDC was one of 11 sites nationwide selected for the Demand Treatment grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
MDC RECEIVES DFC FUNDING
MDC receives DrugFree Communities support grant, which is a federal grant that establishes and strengthens communties and aims to reduce substance abuse among youth and adults. This allowed MDC to expand community outreach to provide resources at no cost.
DRUG MONITORING PROGRAMS
In 2003, MDC sent key state officials to a training about Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs. As a direct result, Tennessee received over $400,000 in funding to develop a computerized prescription monitoring system to support doctors, pharmacists, regulators and law enforcement, saving millions for taxpayers.
In 2004 and 2005 MDC’s innovative “Drama Camp” offered a week of intensive theatrical study with life skills training to 25 at-risk youth, ages 14-17, at no cost to their families.
20 YEAR CELEBRATION
In April of 2006, MDC celebrated 20 years of strengthening Knoxville/Knox County with a special event. The keynote speaker was the nation’s Drug Czar, John P. Walters, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
A NEW HOME
In September of 2009, MDC offices relocated to the Historic Lyons View School on Lyons View Pike. The building has a unique history, and the City and County were gracious in their support and contributions towards making the move a reality.
MAKING A SWITCH
In early 2010, Catherine Thatcher Brunson resigned as the Executive Director. The Board of Directors, hired Karen Pershing as its fourth Executive Director.
CREATION OF A TASK FORCE
MDC formed a prescription drug task force comprised of medical and law enforcement leaders along with Rep. Bill Dunn, Tennessee Department of Health and the TBI to collectively work on the issue of prescription drug abuse. As a result two bills were passed (ID and Naloxone) in the first year and educational efforts showed a decline of 25 percent in prescribing of narcotics in Knox County.
Following eight years of success, Youth Action Council transitioned to Leadership Knoxville and became Youth Leadership Knoxville. MDC transitioned to Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).
PAIN CLINIC REGULATIONS
Through legislative advocacy, MDC and the prescription drug task force led an effort to support a bill to strengthen pain clinic regulations in 2015.
In February, 2015, the Born Drug Free Tennessee education and awareness campaign was launched to reduce babies being born drug exposed and suffering from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).
A NEW BRAND
In 2016, MDC celebrated thier 30th anniversary with a special event and an announcement of their rebranding efforts. The Metropolitain Drug Commission became the Metro Drug Coalition.
Youth Metro Drug Coalition launched in Knox County High Schools. Members of YMDC have a personal connection to addiction or a passion for substance abuse prevention.
HANDS OF HOPE
In 2017, Hands of Hope launched. This is a comprehensive one-on-one mentoring program for first-time mothers (mentees) in addiction treatment and/or recovery. This program will help them navigate the challenges of maintaining sobriety while parenting a Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) baby.