Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse



On Monday, July 31, 2017 the William J. McCord Adolescent Treatment Facility hosted their Project Give Back initiative. This community initiative afforded adolescent outpatient clients and Collaboration For Success (CFS) counselors, Brooke Bess and Ashleigh Simons, the opportunity to work together to give back to the surrounding areas. For the month of July, CFS counselors and clients collected approximately $1500 in donations, including a surplus of book bags, other valuable school supplies, and teacher supplies to be distributed to local students and teachers. Clients did much more than stuff and prepare book bags of school supplies for those in need; they showed their compassion for others and uplifted their community. Supplies are being delivered to schools in Bamberg and Denmark for school officials to identify and distribute to students in need.

Here’s what clients and CFS counselors have to say:

“Ms. Brooke and Ms. Ashleigh are very nice people. They made my experience here fun and I feel like they are the best at what they do. This community service project we did made me feel good because I feel that it is always nice to help others.” -Client

“Here at William J. McCord we not only counsel youth, we strive to encourage, educate, and support them in reaching their full potential. We instill the importance of giving back to the community in amidst of individual challenges. Although each of our clients have their own unique struggles, they are each capable of changing the direction of their lives for their betterment. The best is yet to come! Big shout out to everyone who donated to help us improve the academic challenges for many of our local youth. Only we can create the changes we want to see in our community! ” -Ashleigh Simons, MSW, CACP

“William J. McCord is an amazing facility! The counselors including Ms. Ashleigh, Ms. Brooke, and Ms. Melinda are tremendous women. This institution does so many great things for the children needing help and also the community. We appreciate very much in all the help they give. They truly make our lives easier and better! It was an amazing thing that we could all come together today as a group and not only bond, but give back to the community and the people who will need it. ” –Client

“I want to first thank all of those who helped contribute to this project. Our awesome co-workers, our amazing family and friends, and some very generous businesses located in this community, including Brabham Oil and Home Federal Savings & Loan in Bamberg. Projects like this are the best part of our job! It allows everyone to work together as a team in order to accomplish the goal at hand. Counseling is my passion, but this experience allowed me and Ashleigh to teach our clients to give back and show empathy and compassion for others. ” –Brooke Bess, MA, CACP


Tweets from TCCADA @McCordCenter

For Immediate Release

Date: February 25, 2017

Contact: Mike Dennis, Executive Director  Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Telephone #: 803-536-4900, ext. 113



Tri-County Commission on Alcohol & Drug Abuse

 Awarded Accreditation by Joint Commission


 The Tri-County Commission on Alcohol & Drug Abuse and it’s four programs: The Dawn Center and William J. McCord Adolescent Treatment Facility located in Orangeburg; the Michael C. Watson Treatment Facility in Bamberg; and the J.T. Blanton Treatment Facility located in St. Matthews has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™ for all services by demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety. The accreditation award recognizes The Tri-County Commission on Alcohol & Drug Abuse’s dedication to continuous compliance with The Joint Commission’s state-of-the-art standards. The Gold Seal of Approval® is a symbol of quality that reflects an organization’s commitment to providing safe and effective patient care. 

“We underwent a rigorous, unannounced onsite 3 day survey on November 28-30, 2016. During the review, a team of 4 Joint Commission expert surveyors (a Psychiatrist, Psychiatric Nurse, Addiction Specialist and a Hospital Engineer) evaluated compliance with hospital standards related to several areas, including emergency management, environment of care, infection prevention and control, leadership, and medication management. Surveyors also conducted onsite observations and interviews with staff and clients.” says Mike Dennis, Executive Director of the Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. 

The Joint Commission has accredited hospitals for more than 60 years. More than 4,000 general, children’s, long-term acute, psychiatric, rehabilitation and specialty hospitals currently maintain accreditation from The Joint Commission, awarded for a three-year period. In addition, approximately 360 critical access hospitals maintain accreditation through a separate program. 
“Joint Commission accreditation provides hospitals with the processes needed to improve in a variety of areas from the enhancement of staff education to the improvement of daily business operations,” said Mark G. Pelletier, RN, MS, chief operating officer, Division of Accreditation and Certification Operations, The Joint Commission. “In addition, our accreditation helps hospitals enhance their risk management and risk reduction strategies. We commend the Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse/William J. McCord Adolescent Treatment Facility for its efforts to become a quality improvement organization.”

“We are pleased to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission, the premier health care quality improvement and accrediting body in the nation,” added Dennis. “Our staff is highly qualified and committed to working together to develop and implement approaches that improve care for the clients and their families. Receiving this accreditation validates that what we are doing is meaningful to those we treat and assures we adhere to the most stringent standards of care.”


Established in 1973, the Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse provides prevention, intervention and treatment services to adolescents and adults affected by alcohol, tobacco and other drug use as well as mental health issues.  The Commission recently opened a satellite office at 2247 State Park Road in Santee in order to meet the needs of those in eastern Orangeburg County.  For more information on their services, call 803-536-4900 or logon to

The Joint Commission’s hospital standards are developed in consultation with health care experts and providers, measurement experts and patients. The standards are informed by scientific literature and expert consensus to help hospitals measure, assess and improve performance. 

Founded in 1951, The Joint Commission seeks to continuously improve health care for the public, in collaboration with other stakeholders, by evaluating health care organizations and inspiring them to excel in providing safe and effective care of the highest quality and value. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. An independent, nonprofit organization, The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Learn more about The Joint Commission at

On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, the William J. McCord Adolescent Treatment Facility hosted a male, mentoring group for clients who are enrolled in The Collaboration for Success Program. As part of the counseling process, the counselors helped bring in outside community resources to assist with this mentoring session.   MENT.O.R.S (Men Teaching Order, Responsibility and Self Respect)  is a mentoring program founded by Antonio Moody and Stephen McMillan both graduates of Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School. Moody and McMillian stated, “We see ourselves as two small town men with a purpose to serve the community that we love dearly. Our primary goal is simple - save the community by saving our youth, particularly the young men.   If we effectively collaborate with the parents, school administrators, and different organizations within the community, we can help our youth increase high school graduation rates, improve behavior in school and at home, enhance self-esteem and confidence, promote healthier lifestyles, improve interpersonal skills, and decrease the likelihood of drug and alcohol use. We understand the challenge that lie ahead, however we feel that with the support of the community anything is possible.”  Brooke Bess and Kimberly Baker, Clinical Counselors at the William J. McCord Adolescent Treatment Facility stated, “The experience was awesome and it was amazing to witness these guys coming out and speaking to our young, male clients. The MENT.O.R.S, which included Antonio Moody, Stephen McMillian, Brandon Harrison, and Michael Sneed, helped addressed many aspects of today’s challenges that young men are faced with daily. These men came together in a round table discussion to share experience and guidance in hopes to pointing the young guys in the right direction.”  The two groups plan to work closely together again in the future to better support and guide the male youth down the right path.   For more information about the William J. McCord Adolescent Treatment Facility logon to or call Terri Vanderfin at 534-2328, ext. 143.  For more information about MENT.O.R.S contact Antonio Moody at

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CONTACT: [Tony Ackiss, 803-536-4900 ext. 145,]


Underage Drinking. Adult Consequences.

Campaign Targets Underage Drinkers and Parents Who Provide Alcohol


Orangeburg, South Carolina – April is Alcohol Awareness month and in a special effort to prevent the deadly consequences of underage drinking and driving, local law enforcement officials in South Carolina are joining with the Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse and the First Judicial Alcohol Enforcement Team (AET) to implement a prevention campaign entitled Out of Their Hands. During April 1st-30th, local law enforcement along with community leaders and businesses will be sending the message that underage drinking is not only wrong, it is against the law.


One of our new campaign partners this year is Brabham Oil Company. “We have had a great working relationship with Brabham Oil and their businesses throughout the tri-county region going on a decade now,” said Tony Ackiss, AET Coordinator for the First Judicial Circuit.  “Brabham Oil has worked very hard in training their employees to keep alcohol out of the hands of people who are not supposed to have it,” said Mr. Ackiss.   


As part of the campaign, Brabham Oil businesses throughout the tri-county region during the month of April will be displaying Out Of Their Hands flyers on their alcohol sections, along with reminders near the register for kids and adults that alcohol is for people over the age of 21.


“As a law-abiding, responsible retailer, we at Brabham Oil Company Inc./ EZ Shop strive to serve the right products to the right people,” said Teresa Hannibal, Human Resources/Training Coordinator. She went on to say, “We do this by partnering with the Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse to train all of our employees in the Palmetto Retailers Education Program (PREP). We also maintain age requirements on age-restricted sales on our products, and also conduct internal video tape reviews.” Teresa Hannibal said, “WE proudly endorse the Out of Their Hands campaign for the month of April to prevent the deadly consequences of underage drinking and driving.”

“Teens and parents need to be reminded that underage drinking is deadly serious,” said Tony Ackiss. “Parents and older adults need to know that hosting a party is extremely dangerous for teens, for others in the community, and for the parents themselves given the legal ramifications they face.  South Carolina law requires that any adult found supplying or assisting an underage individual in possessing or consuming alcohol can be fined or be imprisoned up to 30 days. The law also mandates a fine up to $1,092.50 per child. This means that if an adult supplies alcohol to 10 minors, the fine could be up to $10,920.00. 


“Sports players, football stars, cheerleaders, and the young man or young lady with straight As in school – alcohol does not discriminate,” Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said. “Forget being illegal for a moment. ‘Drinking’ does not belong in the same sentence as ‘driving.’ It does not matter if you are the star football player, drinking and driving can kill not only you, but endanger that innocent child playing in their own yard, the lady walking on the sidewalk, the man checking his mailbox. This is a real simple lesson and it requires only one word – don’t. Just don’t,” says the Sheriff of Orangeburg County, Sheriff Leroy Ravenell.


Penalties for underage drinking are costly to teens as well.  Any individual under the age of 21 found to be in possession (i.e., purchasing, attempting to purchase, possessing, or consuming) of alcohol can be fined up to four hundred dollars or imprisoned up to 30 days and must complete an Alcohol Education Program.


In the 2012 Communities That Care Survey conducted among high school students throughout the tri-county region, 15.5% reported that they drink on a regular basis.  Of the students reporting drinking on a regular basis, 25% of those students surveyed were 9th graders or younger. Tony Ackiss went on to say, “Because of these surveys, we have found out that nearly 50% (46.4%) of the students said they were 9th grade or younger when they began drinking alcohol, kids are starting to drinking at much earlier ages than most adults suspect.”


When asked about the usual source of their alcohol, 5.7% reported getting it from their parents, 6.9% from a parent’s friend, and 24.3% from a family member or friend between the ages of 21-25.  Because youth obtain alcoholic beverages from different sources, several strategies will be deployed to help eliminate those opportunities for them to possess or consume alcohol.  In the 1st Judicial Circuit, the collaboration will take a comprehensive approach.  Events such as school-based alcohol awareness presentations, alcohol compliance checks, saturation patrols, and public safety checkpoints will be conducted throughout Orangeburg, Calhoun and Dorchester Counties during this time period.


“We’re asking teens to avoid alcohol and parents to make a new or renewed commitment to never being a party to underage drinking or supplying alcohol to a person that is not of legal age to consume alcohol,” said Tony Ackiss.  “Please remember, giving teens alcohol is not only wrong – it’s against the law.”





Team Tri-County participated in the Walk Like Madd event held March 22nd in Columbia.  We raised $1347.00 to help support the event which was the 3rd highest total among 38 teams.  A huge thank you to our staff and friends who donated to this wonderful cause. MADD is a wonderful organization that helps support victims and families ofvictims of drunk driving.  For more information about MADD and the services they provide follow this link -

Rockin Recovery Fest 2014
In celebration of National Alcohol and Drug Recovery Month
Rockin Recovery Fest 2014.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [72.0 KB]


Zero Tobacco Sales for Tri-County Region

By: Tony Ackiss

January 29, 2015


For the second year in a row the tri-county region of Orangeburg, Bamberg and Calhoun has a 0% sale rate for tobacco during the 2015 SYNAR survey conducted by the Tri-County Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

The SYNAR survey requires all States to conduct a random sampling of tobacco outlet checks with youth under the age of 18. This means sending youth into pre-determined tobacco outlets set forth by the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS). The youth show their own ID and are trained not to lie about their age or entrap the seller. Afterwards, the youth exits the establishment and fills out forms for each establishment with questions ranging from the clerk’s race and gender to whether they asked for identification.   If the clerk does sell tobacco to the underage youth, a follow-up letter is sent out to inform the establishment of the time and date of the transaction along with some additional materials regarding trainings that can assist the establishment in decreasing future underage sales. Law Enforcement is not involved, so there are no criminal citations.  The survey provides South Carolina with an estimate of how accessible it is for youth to purchase tobacco.

The Tri-County Commission completed the SYNAR survey for Orangeburg, Bamberg and Calhoun County this week and reported that for the second year in a row that each county had a sale rate of 0%. “I am very proud of each county this year,” says Tony Ackiss, Alcohol Enforcement Coordinator and Prevention Specialist for the tri-county region. He went on to say that “Since I have been employed here at the Tri-County Commission, I have never had two consecutive years of no sales during the survey until now.  I would like to think this is the norm, but I know that the sale of tobacco products is still an issue for the tri-county region and we all have work to do in the future to make sure that we do not sell tobacco, and alcohol for that matter, to youth.”

The establishments that were checked during the FY15 SYNAR survey will be receiving a letter congratulating them on not selling tobacco to a minor.

Any questions related to this event please contact

Tony Ackiss

910 Cook Road

Orangeburg SC, 29118

Office: 803-536-4900 ext. 145  Cell: 803-860-1672


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