Opi­ate aware­ness town hall slated for Oct. 12

Record Observer - - News -

STEVENSVILLE — Since Jan­uar y 2017 in Queen Anne’s County, there have been at least four deaths re­sult­ing from heroin/opi­ate over­doses and 40 heroin/opi­ate over­doses. These num­bers do not in­clude Queen Anne’s County res­i­dents who over­dose or die from an over­dose in an­other county or in Delaware. If so, the num­bers would be much higher, ac­cord­ing to War­ren Wright, chair­man of the Drug-Free Queen Anne’s Coali­tion.

To raise aware­ness about the epi­demic of over­doses and deaths from heroin and other opi­oids, the Coali­tion is host­ing “QAC Heroin/Opi­ate Town Hall II: Not My Child? Think Again! Help is Avail­able!” This meet­ing will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thurs­day, Oct. 12, at Stevensville Mid­dle School. Cit­i­zens are in­vited to browse var­i­ous ex­hibits and dis­plays from 6 to 7 p.m. The event will fea­ture re­marks be­gin­ning at 7 p.m. from Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sioner Jim Mo­ran, along with a key­note ad­dress from Ryan Helfen­bien, rep­re­sent­ing Fel­lows, Helfen­bein, and New­nam Fu­neral Homes. Helfen­bien will speak about the im­pact of opi­oid deaths on fam­ily mem­bers, friends, and the com­mu­nity. Del­e­gates Jef­fer­son L. Ghrist and Steven J. Arentz will at­tend.

First Sgt. Mor­ris “Sonny” Jones of the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice will mod­er­ate the event. Other speak­ers are sched­uled to as­sist par­tic­i­pants in un­der­stand­ing opi­oid mis­use, ad­dic­tion and ways to re­spond if a loved one is sus­pected of opi­oid use. Par­ents and fam­ily mem­bers of in­di­vid­u­als who have died from an over­dose have vol­un­teered to share their ex­pe­ri­ences, along with re­cov­er­ing ad­dicts who will de­scribe their jour­neys to­ward a drug-free life­style. Fam­ily mem­bers of a loved one who has died from an over­dose are en­cour­aged to bring a pair of the loved one’s shoes and the printed name (on an 8.5” by 11” sheet of pa­per) of their loved one, to pay trib­ute to those who have lost their lives due to opi­ate over­doses. Empty seats will be re­served for those loved ones to em­pha­size the num­ber of cit­i­zens who are no longer with us.

A panel of ex­perts will make brief com­ments about the county’s re­sponse to the opi­oid epi­demic. Pan­elists in­clude State’s At­tor­ney Lance G. Richard­son, Sher­iff Garry Hof­mann III, De­ten­tion Cen­ter War­den LaMonte Cooke, for­mer/cur­rent MSP Centreville Bar­racks Com­man­ders Lt. Tim McDon­ald / Lt. Robert Con­nolly, Ju­ve­nile Ser­vices Di­rec­tor Joe Gra­bis, Queen Anne’s County Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices As­sis­tant Chief Scott Wheat­ley, Kent County (clos­est detox/re­hab) lo­cal ad­dic­tions au­thor­ity Ti­mothy Dove, and Mary Bour­bon, nurse prac­ti­tioner from Ch­e­sa­peake Treat­ment Ser­vices. Af­ter the panel seg­ment, par­tic­i­pants will be in­vited to at­tend break-out ses­sions for an op­por­tu­nity to re­ceive more in-depth in­for­ma­tion and ask ques­tions.

An­other key com­po­nent of the town hall meet­ing will be the pres­ence of the Mock Teen Bed­room, from the Kent Is­land Methodist Church’s Cel­e­brate Re­cov­ery pro­gram. A mo­bile unit con­tain­ing a full-sized bed­room has been cre­ated to teach par­ents how to search for drugs and drug para­pher­na­lia that may be hid­den in a child’s bed­room, when drug use is sus­pected by the par­ents. This tool was un­veiled in early Septem­ber and is al­ready in great de­mand by counties through­out the state.

Three tele­vi­sion sta­tions have sup­ported the heroin/opi­ate town hall plan­ning and these in­clude QAC-TV, WBOC (Sal­is­bury) and WMAR (Bal­ti­more). Many other in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses have pro­vided do­na­tions to as­sist with opi­oid aware­ness ef­forts. Linda Austin, owner of KI Rita’s, co­or­di­nated nu­mer­ous lo­cal busi­nesses to do­nate the re­fresh­ments for this event.

Any­one de­sir­ing more in­for­ma­tion or who would like to pro­vide a re­lated dis­play is en­cour­aged to con­tact Kathy Wright at kathyw518@ya­hoo.com. The Queen Anne’s County Drug-Free Coali­tion is com­prised mostly of cit­i­zen vol­un­teers. Mem­bers meet the sec­ond Wed­nes­day of ev­ery other month (Fe­bru­ary, April, June, Au­gust, Oc­to­ber, De­cem­ber) from 8 to 10 a.m. in Centreville at the sher­iff’s of­fice. Com­mit­tee meet­ings are held much more fre­quently as strate­gies un­fold to pre­vent al­co­hol, mar­i­juana, and opi­ate use among chil­dren, young adults and adults. The Coali­tion’s Face­book page is https://face­book.com/qacdfc, and the email is www.QACDFC@ gmail.com. The Face­book page is up­dated reg­u­larly and in­ter­ested cit­i­zens may also ask to be in­cluded on the Coali­tion email list to re­ceive meet­ing min­utes and other im­por­tant an­nounce­ments.

PHOTO BY HAN­NAH LANG/CAP­I­TAL NEWS SER­VICE

On Fri­day, Aug. 4, the Mary­land De­part­ment of Health and Men­tal Hy­giene re­leased the first quar­ter fatal over­dose re­port for 2017. The re­port in­di­cates a rise in pre­scrip­tion-re­lated over­doses on the Mid-Shore.

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