Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use

Governor Pat McCrory's Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Use comprises experts from the justice system and related private sector professionals, the healthcare provider community, county leadership, non-governmental entities and private sector employers. The Task Force brings together the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government and key stakeholders to make recommendations that will improve the lives of citizens with mental illness and substance use disorders. 
The purpose of the Task Force is to reduce stigma and encourage people to seek help before their situation becomes a crisis – and they end up in an emergency department or jail. Appropriate treatment and early intervention can result in significant benefits for individuals, families, communities and taxpayers.

Recommendations Presented to Governor McCrory


Senator Tamara Barringer (Wake County) 
Commissioner Ronald Beale (Macon County)
Health and Human Services Secretary Rick Brajer (Wake County) 
Sheriff Asa Buck, III (Carteret County) 
Chief District Court Judge Joseph Buckner (Orange County) 
Dr. Bruce Capehart (Durham County) 
Karen Ellis (Cleveland County) 
Supreme Court Justice Samuel J. Ervin, IV (Burke County) 
Donald Hall (Pender County) 
Brian Ingraham (Buncombe County) 
Dr. Mike Lancaster (Orange County) 
William Lassiter (Wake County) 
Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Martin (Wake County) 
Representative Susan Martin (Wilson County) 
Benjamin Matthews (Wake County)
Deborrah L. Newton, Esq. (Wake County)
David Passmore (Columbus County) 
Dr. Ashwin Patkar (Wake County) 
Katherine Peppers (Wake County) 
Jack Register (Guilford County) 
Dave Richard (Wake County) 
Dr. John Santopietro (Mecklenburg County) 
George Solomon (Wake County)
Appeals Court Judge Donna Stroud (Wake County) 

Task Force Liaisons:
Lisa Cauley
N. Lorrin Freeman
Greta Metcalf
Dr. Al Mooney
Dr. Bryant Murphy
Steven Scoggin, MDiv. Psy.D, LPC
Kurtis Taylor, Jr.

Task Force Special Advisors:
Jason Vogler
McKinley Wooten



The Task Force shall, by May 1, 2016, submit finding and strategic recommendations to the
Governor for improving the lives of North Carolina children and adults with mental illness and substance use disorders and their families. In creating these strategic findings and
recommendations, the non-judicial members of the Task Force shall do the following:

  1. Evaluate the linkages between agencies of state government and local government and create recommendations for the transfer of existing best practices across the state;
  2. Examine the role of mental health and other specialty courts currently in North Carolina to determine how they can best be utilized to improve our efforts to address and reduce the extent to which individuals suffer from untreated mental health disorders and substance use problems;
  3. Examine successful efforts to heighten awareness and reduce stigma associated with mental health treatment in our state and recommendations on how to improve these efforts;
  4. Examine the ways the justice system can best handle cases of young people with mental illness and substance use disorders to provide them the best opportunity to reach their full potential as North Carolina citizens;
  5. Examine the link between foster care and the need for mental health and substance use services to improve outcomes for teenagers when they leave the foster care system; and
  6. Any other duties as assigned by the Governor or the Co-Chairs. Any strategic findings and recommendations made by judicial members of the Task Force shall be limited to how mental health and substance use issues relate to the administration of justice.

Judicial members of the Task Force will be deemed to have recused themselves from any findings or recommendations unrelated to the court system or the administration of justice.

Task Force Meeting Documents

Send Questions or Comments to the Task Force