Keep up the fight against ad­dic­tion

Kent County News - - OPINION -

This is the fi­nal week of the month­long Kent Goes Pur­ple cam­paign. Through­out Septem­ber, busi­nesses have been lit up in pur­ple lights and peo­ple have donned pur­ple shirts and par­tic­i­pated in events aimed at rais­ing aware­ness of the opi­oid abuse epi­demic that has cost so many lives through­out the coun­try in re­cent years.

“It’s in­cred­i­ble how this has touched every seg­ment of so­ci­ety. Ev­ery­one needs to be aware of what’s go­ing on,” said Kent County Health Of­fi­cer Dr. Le­land Spencer in an in­ter­view ear­lier this month about the epi­demic. The Kent Goes Pur­ple cam­paign lined up a series of events to bol­ster that aware­ness.

Two of three big events for the inau­gu­ral Kent Goes Pur­ple cam­paign drew siz­able crowds: the il­lu­mi­na­tion of the Kent County Court­house Sept. 7 and a 5k Color Fun Run/Walk Sept. 9. De­spite rain, wind and the re­sult­ing chilly tem­per­a­ture, more than 100 peo­ple par­tic­i­pated in the run.

We en­cour­age ev­ery­one to pack Tro­jan Sta­dium at Kent County High School this Fri­day for a foot­ball game and the fi­nal Kent Goes Pur­ple event. The Tro­jans take on the Queen Anne’s County High School Li­ons, with kick­off at 6:30 p.m. There will be a spe­cial ap­pear­ance by Su­per Bowl cham­pion and for­mer Bal­ti­more Raven Qadry “The Mis­sile” Is­mail. A drug ed­u­ca­tion trailer from the Kent County Sher­iff’s Of­fice will be on hand. There also will be a raf­fle for prizes in­clud­ing Ravens tick­ets and mem­o­ra­bilia. Any­one wear­ing pur­ple gets in free.

The lead or­ga­niz­ers of Kent Goes Pur­ple are the Kent County Sher­iff’s Of­fice and the Chestertown Ro­tary, both of which de­serve stand­ing ova­tions for their ef­forts pulling ev­ery­thing to­gether to make this cam­paign hap­pen. Spe­cial ku­dos go to the or­ga­niz­ers’ ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee: Kent County Sher­iff John F. Price and Lt. Den­nis Hick­man, Ro­tar­i­ans Andy Mee­han, Kirk Helfen­bein and Dr. Lisa Webb and Bill Meekins of the Chestertown Elks.

While the cam­paign has lasted all month, the opi­oid epi­demic will con­tinue to claim lives un­less we all take time to ed­u­cate our­selves about the dan­gers of il­le­gal drugs like heroin and also the pre­scrip­tion opi­oids like Per­co­cet that can lead to ad­dic­tion. The over-pre­scrip­tion of opi­oids is widely re­garded as the root cause of the cri­sis.

“It is ob­vi­ous that the med­i­cal com­mu­nity has to re­think how it treats pain. It has started, but there is work still to be done,” Webb wrote in an opin­ion piece pub­lished in a spe­cial Kent Goes Pur­ple sup­ple­ment to the Sept. 6 Kent County News. “A pro­gram like Kent Goes Pur­ple can be very help­ful for get­ting ev­ery­one, pa­tients and providers, on the same page about the dan­gers of opi­oids, and to help ini­ti­ate the con­ver­sa­tion.”

For pa­tients and fam­ily mem­bers, it is im­per­a­tive to talk to doc­tors about any pre­scrip­tions. Make sure they are be­ing taken only as di­rected and stored in a se­cure lo­ca­tion. Dis­pose of any un­used med­i­ca­tion. The Chestertown and Rock Hall po­lice de­part­ments and the Kent County Sher­iff’s Of­fice ac­cept un­wanted pre­scrip­tion drugs for dis­posal.

Watch for the signs of de­pen­dence in a loved one, such as whether they are tak­ing more than is called for or are de­mand­ing a re­fill when their sup­ply runs out. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is vi­tal, with med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als, with fam­ily mem­bers, with any­one in your or­bit who you think may be de­vel­op­ing a de­pen­dency or a full-blown ad­dic­tion.

Re­mem­ber: There is help avail­able. Among the groups of­fer­ing sup­port, the Kent County Health De­part­ment, 410-778-1350, and the A.F. Whit­sitt Cen­ter in Chestertown, 410-778-6404, are two great start­ing points for in­for­ma­tion and as­sis­tance.

We ap­plaud ev­ery­one who has sup­ported the Kent Goes Pur­ple cam­paign. We hope that it has armed the com­mu­nity with knowl­edge about the opi­oid abuse epi­demic and ways to fight it. Through that ed­u­ca­tion, we can all help turn the tide on ad­dic­tion, over­doses and deaths.

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