At a recent Ashe Health Alliance meeting, results of Ashe County’s Health Opinion Survey were released and confirmed regional findings that alcohol and/or drug use is the number one health concern of our community.

These results are consistent with current data trends that show an increase in the prevalence of substance misuse. Nearly 90 percent of respondents cited substance misuse as the most important risky behavior in the community. When asked what the top health problem in the community is, nearly 80 percent again responded with alcohol and/or drug use. This majority opinion parallels the alcohol-poisoning rate and number of alcohol related visits to the Emergency Department in Ashe County, both of which are higher than state averages.

Approximately 15 percent of Ashe County residents report binge or heavy drinking. Between 2011-2015, one in five driving deaths (21 percent) involved alcohol in Ashe County, compared to 32 percent of all driving deaths in North Carolina.

Addiction is harmful to our community in many ways. Beyond the harmful consequences for a person with addiction, substance misuse can cause serious health problems for others, Use of some drugs such as opioids during pregnancy increases the risk of developmental problems for babies. Injection of drugs such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine increases the spread of infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV. The number of acute Hepatitis C cases in Ashe County doubled from 2015 to 2016.

In response to these concerns and as a follow-up on our literary festival read, “Dopesick” by Beth Macy, Appalachian Regional Library System launched the 2019 Good Neighbor Project: Stories of Recovery and Hope. The common read for this year’s project is “Bottled: A Mom’s Early Recovery Guide” by Dana Bowman. Multiple copies of her book are available at Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes County Libraries. In efforts to reduce barriers to access, these books are labeled as ‘“READ-SHARE-RETURN” and do not require a library card to borrow. Just be sure to keep the books moving after they are read so they reach as many as possible.

Bowman’s story follows her journey in recovery from alcoholism and offers encouragement for those who struggle as well as those in support of loved ones with an addiction problem. Not to diminish the seriousness of the disease, but to humanize it and make conversation about it less taboo, Dana uses humor to address this health problem. By looking at the addiction problem as an illness not a character flaw, we can help to banish stigma and find ways that make the road to recovery easier for all to travel. Join us for special programming during the month of October (details listed below and on the website:

Dates to remember in October:

Events for Children & Families

  • Baby Bounce, for ages birth to 2 years, takes place every Friday at 10:30 a.m. Enjoy stories, rhymes, bounces and songs, with stay-and-play time afterward.
  • Tot time meets every Wednesday for ages two and three for a fun-filled time with stories, art and music. Come out to wiggle, giggle, laugh, sing and create.
  • Story Time for ages four and five takes place at 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays. Join us for ABC Adventures of stories, art, and music.

Alternate Ending Club for ages 7-12 meets at 4:00 p.m. on October 8 and 22. Come out and experience books in a whole new way with interactive stories where club mates will choose the way the story ends.

  • Maker Monday is for children and families at 4:00 p.m. on Mondays. If you can imagine it, you can make it. Follow your curiosity to create amazing solutions to everyday challenges, play on your own and more.
  • World Map Day is on Oct. 19. Join us at 11 a.m. and celebrate with map crafts, games (Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?), and a library scavenger hunt. Costumes encouraged.
  • Bake Your Cares Away at 1 p.m. on Oct. 25. Make cookies with us from start to finish.
  • Calling all Trick or ‘Reaters! Come and celebrate at the library with treats, games, and spooky stories from 3-6 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Teen Club (Ages 12-18)

  • T for Teen meets at 4 p.m. on Oct. 1. Gamers unite! Xbox 360 and laptops available for teen gaming.
  • Board Game Café takes place at 4 p.m. on Oct. 8.
  • Open Studio (games, art and snacks) is held at 4 p.m. on Oct. 15.
  • Teen Listening Council/A.S.H.E. meets at 4 p.m. on Oct. 22. Once each month, A Safe Home for Everyone will host Teen Listening Council. Each session will feature snacks, fun activities and help in navigating the turbulent teenage years.
  • A Suicide Prevention Workshop will be held at 4 p.m. on Oct. 29. This workshop will be facilitated by a representative from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Adult Programs

  • Life with Children takes place at 9:45 a.m. on Oct. 8. Welcoming parents and caregivers of young children for practical parenting tips and discussion, light refreshments and time to enjoy the companionship of others who are raising the next generation. Child care will be provided by members of the Friends of Ashe County Library. Registration is suggested. This is a program of the FOL with support from the library.
  • The Talking Service Book Club meets at 10 a.m. on Oct. 11. Each meeting begins with a discussion of one or more readings from “Standing Down: From Warrior to Civilian,” a collection of works ranging from Homer’s Iliad to recent memoirs by veterans of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. The readings serve as an entry for attendees, particularly veterans, to talk candidly about their own experiences. This club is open to veterans and anyone who cares about veterans. Stop by the library to pick up a copy of this month’s read.
  • Brouhaha Book Club takes place at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 at Boondocks Brewing. Come as you are and read what you want. There is no required reading for this book club. Join us to share the books you’ve read over the past month and get recommendations for your next great read.
  • For all your tech troubles, book an appointment with our friendly reference librarians. Call (336) 846-2041 ext. 227.
  • Yoga Club meets in the library’s downstairs meeting room at 5:30 p.m. on Mondays.
  • Vickie’s Book Club meets at 1:00 p.m. Oct. 15 to discuss “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman.

All Ages

  • Get Crafty will meet on Oct. 19 for crocheting and knitting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All skill levels welcome, materials are provided.
  • The Community Drum Circle meets at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 and 24. Join the celebration of drums, while exploring the soul and spirit of music.
  • Mountain Music Molasses (slow) Jam meets from 3-5 p.m. on Oct. 12 and 19 in the downstairs meeting room. Get together with other musicians and jam. Songs are explained as to timing, breaks and played in slow time. Designed for beginners, all skill levels are welcome.

Good Neighbor Project

  • Screening of documentary The Anonymous People at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 23.
  • More than 23 million Americans are living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. The goal of this movie is to change the conversation from addiction to recovery and build a movement that supports people stepping out of the shadows and talking about their lives in recovery — without stigma or shame.
  • Hear Dana Bowman speak at 12 p.m. on Oct. 23. Author, mother, blogger and runner Dana Bowman will discuss sobriety, motherhood and her best-selling book, “Bottled: A Mom’s Guide to Early Recovery.” Tickets are required for this free lunch event. Call (336) 846-2041, ext. 111 or visit the library to register.
  • Nar-Anon Interest Meeting to be held at 6 p.m. on Oct. 30. Nar-Anon Family Groups are primarily for those who know or have known a feeling of desperation concerning the addiction problem of someone very near to them. Join us as we gauge interest in forming and hosting a Nar-Anon group at ACPL.

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