Mid-Shore goes purple in Septem­ber

Times-Record - - NEWS -

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.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

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.

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