09/04/19

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If you or someone you love is dealing with addiction, the Wicomico County Health Department can help. Call 410-749-1244 to speak with a counselor or learn about support groups.

We’ll all being seeing shades of purple in September as Wicomico County raises awareness about the dangers of substance abuse

In 2017, the most recent data available, the National Institute of Drug Abuse reports there were 1,985 overdose deaths involving opioids in Maryland – twice the national average.

Since the state ranks in the nation’s Top 5 for opioid-related overdose death rates, leaders on the Shore decided it was time to take a stand.

Talbot County was the first to launch the Go Purple initiative, and others quickly followed suit. Now, all counties on the Lower Shore are onboard.

Throughout September, business owners and residents are encouraged to install purple lighting, decorations, etc. The hope is that the color will spark discussion in the community.

“The mission of our initiative is to encourage conversations about the dangers of substance abuse and encourage both our community and our young citizens to take a stand against this epidemic,” said Stephanie Willey, chairwoman of Wicomico Goes Purple.

The Wicomico County Health Department, which is involved with the planning of Wicomico Goes Purple, works year-round to educate and save lives

Since 2017, it has offered more than 1,800 trainings for Narcan, a prescription drug that reverses overdoses.

Health Officer Lori Brewster said statistics show overdose has become the leading cause of accidental death in people younger than 50. She encourages parents to talk to their kids about the dangers. If needed, the Wicomico County Health Department can provide contacts for trained professionals and support groups.

“We need to continue to educate everyone that this epidemic impacts each and every one of us, some more than others,” Brewster said. “This campaign will assist
everyone in getting the information, becoming involved in the conversation and helping our community move forward.”

Wicomico Goes Purple kicks off 7:05 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Shorebirds Stadium. Willey said the community has embraced the initiative and she is excited to see it grow.

“This crisis has impacted so many of our neighbors; it has ravaged families, businesses and the community,” she said. “Awareness starts at home and, working together, we can all make a difference.”