Sym­phony Vil­lage Out­reach makes do­na­tions

The Star Democrat - - LOCAL - By KRIS­TIAN JAIME [email protected]­pub.com

— Sym­phony Vil­lage Out­reach made a pair of $1,000 do­na­tions to the Drug Free Coali­tion and Cross­roads Com­mu­nity Inc. Mon­day, Feb. 4, to con­tinue ef­forts against the opi­oid cri­sis in the county.

Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff Gary Hof­mann joined John Plaskon, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Cross­roads, to ac­cept the do­na­tions. The funds were raised by Sym­phony Vil­lage Out­reach with a card party at­tended by an es­ti­mated 110 pa­trons gath­er­ing for fa­vorites such as bridge, maj jong, canasta, domi­nos, Scrabble, and Hand and Foot.

The decade-long tra­di­tion joins two other fundrais­ers they have through­out the year to col­lect money for county non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions. The 11-mem­ber board, which boasts an es­ti­mated 22 mem­bers, votes on the best char­i­ties for that year.

“I want to tell you how much it means that (Sym­phony Vil­lage Out­reach) sup­ports the ef­forts of QAC Goes Pur­ple,” Hof­mann said. “It has been an ef­fort that has touched ev­ery sin­gle one of of our lives. Any­thing we can do to cre­ate aware­ness and ed­u­ca­tion af­fects en­force­ment. When we started the pur­ple cam­paign, we got a grant from the state. That was for aware­ness ef­fort and it worked.”

Hof­mann said in­ter­ven­tion in cases of ad­dic­tion is best be­fore the in­di­vid­ual has hit rock bot­tom.

The Drug Free Coali­tion, founded Oc­to­ber 2003, aims to “ad­vo­cate for a com­pre­hen­sive al­co­hol and other licit and il­licit drug pre­ven­tion ini­tia­tives in Queen Anne’s County, and to work with other agen­cies, pub­lic or pri­vate, or state and lo­cal gov­ern­ments and the com­mu­nity at large to iden­tify pro­grams, re­sources, and un­met needs in (the county).”

Most re­cently, it joined with the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice in Septem­ber 2018 for QAC Goes Pur­ple to spot­light the spike in opi­oid ad­dic­tion and deaths due to over­dose.

Since the start of 2019, to­tal opi­oid-re­lated calls to both Centreville po­lice and the sher­iff’s of­fice have in­cluded six sus­pected non­fa­tal over­doses and two fa­tal over­doses.

“We reached out to the high schools last year with Chris Her­ren as the speaker. This year, we’re reach­ing out to mid­dle schools and high school ath­letes with the sher­iff talk­ing to them. We have many good things in the works,” said War­ren Wright, chair­per­son for Queen Anne’s County Drug Free Coali­tion.

Statewide, the Mary­land Depart­ment of Health re­leased data for un­in­ten­tional drug and al­co­hol-re­lated in­tox­i­ca­tion deaths through the se­cond quar­ter of 2018. Dur­ing this six-month pe­riod, which in­cluded Jan­uary through June of 2018, there were 1,325 to­tal un­in­ten­tional in­tox­i­ca­tion deaths, a 12 per­cent in­crease over the same pe­riod in 2017. Of these, 1,185 were opi­oid-re­lated deaths in the state, in­clud­ing 1,038 fen­tanyl-re­lated deaths.

More than three-quar­ters of all over­dose deaths in 2018 in­volved fen­tanyl, a trend that has con­tin­ued since the first quar­ter of 2017, when the num­ber of fen­tanyl-re­lated deaths first ex­ceeded the num­ber of heroin-re­lated deaths.

The other re­cip­i­ent of the do­na­tion was Cross­roads Com­mu­nity Inc., which was in­cor­po­rated in 1984. The fledgling or­ga­ni­za­tion ini­tially was charged with pro­vid­ing psy­choso­cial re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices to adults with se­ri­ous and per­sis­tent men­tal ill­ness who lived in Kent and Queen Anne’s coun­ties.

“We treat peo­ple with men­tal ill­ness and of­ten they have con­cur­rent is­sues with ad­dic­tion,” Plaskon said. “The fund­ing we get is for ser­vices and there are an­cil­lary costs like a new set of clothes for some­one for a job in­ter­view, or med­i­cal vis­its. They even in­clude res­i­den­tial pro­grams for clients and for that we thank (Sym­phony Vil­lage) very much.”

Cross­roads now pro­vides a full ar­ray of psy­chi­atric re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices to adults and chil­dren and case man­age­ment ser­vices to adults through­out five mid-shore coun­ties. In 2009, Cross­roads ex­panded to also pro­vide clin­i­cal ser­vices through its clinic, Cor­sica River Men­tal Health Ser­vices.

From July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, 233 in­di­vid­u­als were served, a to­tal of 229 vol­un­teer hours were amassed, and there was a sum of $56,073 in grants and con­tri­bu­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to data col­lected by Cross­roads, among those who re­ceive treat­ment for men­tal health is­sues, 70 to 90 per­cent of in­di­vid­u­als have sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion of symp­toms and im­proved qual­ity of life. An es­ti­mated 45 to 60 per­cent sus­tain com­plete re­mis­sion, even from such de­bil­i­tat­ing ill­nesses as schizophre­nia, clin­i­cal de­pres­sion and bipo­lar dis­or­der.

In­ter­est for the next card party al­ready is strong, with Sym­phony Vil­lage Out­reach mak­ing plans for the event, or­ga­niz­ers said.

“I’m glad that we can give these do­na­tions. The card party is some­thing we’ve done for 10 years now, and it’s a re­ally big fundraiser for us,” said Car­lene Cook, chairp­man of the card party.

PHOTO BY KRIS­TIAN JAIME

From left, War­ren Wright, chair­per­son for Queen Anne’s County Drug Free Coali­tion, Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff Gary Hof­mann, Sue Can­field, pres­i­dent of the Sym­phony Vil­lage Out­reach, mem­bers of the or­ga­ni­za­tions, Car­lene Cooke, chair­per­son of the card party, John Plaskon, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Cross­roads Com­mu­nity Inc., and Ma­jor Dwayne Board­man, chief deputy of the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, gath­ered to re­ceive char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions.

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