Keep up the fight against addiction
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.