‘Caro­line Goes Pur­ple’ for opi­oid abuse aware­ness

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­drews@car­o­line­times­record.com

— Caro­line County is go­ing pur­ple in Septem­ber, with a month of com­mu­nity events to pro­mote ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness of the opi­oid abuse epi­demic, en­cour­ag­ing those af­fected to seek help and those who are not ad­dicted to pre­vent it.

Led by Drug-Free Caro­line in part­ner­ship with the Caro­line County com­mis­sion­ers and the Caro­line County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, “Caro­line Goes Pur­ple” will use Septem­ber — Na­tional Re­cov­ery Month — to fo­cus at­ten­tion on the is­sue.

“The cri­sis is real — and it’s here,” said Caro­line County Sher­iff Randy Bounds in a news re­lease. “This epi­demic is like noth­ing I’ve seen in my law en­force­ment ca­reer. This drug does not dis­crim­i­nate and fam­i­lies from all walks of life are be­ing hit hard.”

Bounds said pre­ven­tion is the longterm key to beat­ing the epi­demic.

“That’s why Caro­line Goes Pur­ple is so im­por­tant,” he said.

Heroin over­doses are now the lead­ing cause of ac­ci­den­tal death for peo­ple un­der 50, killing more each year than car ac­ci­dents and homi­cides com­bined.

Four out of five heroin users started with recre­ational use of pre­scrip­tion painkillers. Sev­enty-five per­cent of teens say they can eas­ily get pre­scrip­tion painkillers from a fam­ily mem­ber’s medicine cab­i­net. And in Caro­line County, 5 per­cent of high school stu­dents re­port they have tried heroin.

Caro­line Goes Pur­ple kicks off with the Fed-Up Rally, at 6 p.m. Fri­day, Aug. 31, at Den­ton Ele­men­tary School on Sharp Road.

The rally is to let lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives know the com­mu­nity needs their help. The kid-friendly event will fea­ture games, face paint­ing, a moon bounce, a walk/run, ac­cess to many re­sources and live mu­sic cour­tesy of Echoes of Mercy.

The Town of Greens­boro is hold-

ing “Greens­boro Goes Pur­ple,” 11 a.m. Satur­day, Sept. 22, at Ober Park.

Two free screen­ings of the film “If Only,” chron­i­cling a teen’s path­way to ad­dic­tion, are be­ing of­fered.

The first will be at 6:30 p.m. Mon­day, Sept. 24, at North Caro­line High School. The sec­ond will be at 6:30 p.m. Thurs­day, Sept. 27, at Colonel Richard­son High School.

The screen­ings will be led by the film’s pro­ducer, James Wahlberg, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foun­da­tion, and will in­clude a talk by a lo­cal par­ent who lost a child to ad­dic­tion, and the op­por­tu­nity to ask ques­tions.

The screen­ings will be fol­lowed by a free ice cream so­cial, so fam­i­lies can con­tinue the con­ver­sa­tion about pre­vent­ing sub­stance abuse. There will also be a re­source fair with more in­for­ma­tion on pre­ven­tion and treat­ment and Nar­can train­ing, and a free raf­fle draw­ing at each screen­ing, fea­tur­ing prizes like an Ap­ple Watch, Nin­tendo Switch, Kin­dle Fire 10 tablet and Visa and other gift cards.

Be­sides at­tend­ing these events, res­i­dents are en­cour­aged to “go pur­ple” by light­ing their homes pur­ple, and think­ing of creative ways their work­place or busi­ness can show sup­port and raise aware­ness. Pur­ple bulbs will be for sale at Caro­line Sum­merfest, Fri­day, Aug. 17, and Satur­day, Aug. 18, in down­town Den­ton.

Peo­ple can also share ed­u­ca­tional mes­sages on so­cial me­dia, have a con­ver­sa­tion with fam­ily about pre­scrip­tion drugs, lock up pre­scrip­tion drugs and safely dis­pose of those not be­ing used, and get trained on Nar­can and carry it — it could save a life.

For more in­for­ma­tion on Caro­line Goes Pur­ple, please con­tact Jen­nifer Fa­rina at pur­ple@drugfreecaro­line.org or 410-479-0660.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Caro­line County De­part­ment of Corrections Su­per­in­ten­dent Ruth A. Col­bourne gets vo­cal at the 2017 Fed Up! Rally for Over­dose Aware­ness Day in Den­ton.

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