Mid-Shore goes purple in September
When Talbot Goes Purple planning started in late 2016, no one anticipated such an amazing response. Nor did anyone anticipate the movement spreading across the Mid-Shore, and other places on the Delmarva Peninsula. At last count, at least seven counties plus Delaware have plans to go purple this month.
“After we finished up last year we were approached by several counties asking how we did it,” said Lucie Hughes, a founder of Talbot Goes Purple. “We’re so excited to have other counties want to join in this effort.”
Hughes and Talbot County Sherif f Joe Gamble met with several counties since last October, talking about the project, how they pulled it off, and what it entails. Since then, several counties have adapted their own versions of the program.
“Each county is doing it a little differently,” Hughes said. “It’s what works best for each county. Ultimately, we’re providing a platform to expand our messaging — and that’s what this is all about — getting those messages out there.”
At the heart of Talbot Goes Purple lies its educational messages, intended to inform, educate and spread awareness about opioid use, misuse and abuse. And as Talbot Goes Purple is a prevention initiative, the messages also help promote information that can potentially stop someone from using opioids in the first place.
Most messages contain a statistic, which are not open for interpretation nor based on opinion. Last year’s messages have been updated to reflect the latest data, and new messages this year focus on mental health and how it is tied into substance use disorder.
All of the Mid-Shore county’s initiatives include educational messages, mostly adapted from Talbot’s. That means the awareness effort now reaches a much larger geographical area — and audience, than last year. And that, Hughes said, is the goal.
“We’re just thrilled with everyone joining us in this effort and encourage everyone to support it across the region,” Hughes said.
Hughes also is the vice president for institutional advancement at Chesapeake College, which also has joined the movement. Chesapeake Goes Purple this year includes a regional event, set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 13.
“With over 2,000 credit students, 5,000 non-credit students and over 400 faculty and staff representing all five counties we provide a central spot to reach many,” Hughes said. “We offer a unique opportunity for all five counties to be in one place and get out the educational messaging.”
Hughes said the college will share educational messages both on its website and on its Route 50 sign each day. They also plan to create a landing page on the college’s website, with links to each county’s sites and Facebook pages.
The event also includes a take-back component from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Caroline Center, in partnership with the college’s secondyear nursing students, the college’s public safety department and Queen Anne’s County Office of the Sheriff. Narcan training for some of the college’s faculty and staff also is planned.
Gov. Larry Hogan, center, meets with Caroline County Public Schools Superintendent Patricia Saelens, left, and Jennifer Farina Saturday, Aug. 18, at the Caroline Goes Purple booth during Caroline Summerfest.