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Since January 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, Chairperson 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 dynamic town hall meeting will be held on Thursday, October 12, 2017 from 6-9 p.m. at the Stevensville Middle School in Stevensville, Maryland. Citizens are invited to browse various exhibits and displays from 6-7 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 Helfenbein, representing Fellows, Helfenbein, and Newnam Funeral Homes. Mr. Helfenbein will speak about the impact of opioid deaths on family members, friends, and the community. Delegates Jefferson L. Ghrist and Steven J. Arentz confirmed their attendance.
QAC Sheriff’s Office 1st Sgt. Morris “Sonny” Jones 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 Barrack Commanders Lt. Tim McDonald / Lt. Robert Connolly, Juvenile Services Director Joe Grabis, QAC 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 QAC 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 email@example.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 8-10 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.