EASTON — Talbot Goes Purple kicked off with the film screening of “The American Opioid Crisis: Talbot Goes Purple” on Wednesday Sept. 4, with an estimated 400 people attending the event.

Set amidst the tragic repercussions of the opioid epidemic, the documentary explores the partnership between law enforcement, civic leaders, and the recovery community in Talbot County as they battle the devastating effects of addiction. The film is a production of Colorado-based Ferrari Films, with producers Denise Ferrari and Tricia Springer and their crew. The team spent several days filming in Easton last fall.

“I hope that the program will be a small step in removing the stigma surrounding drug use,” said Ferrari, the film’s executive producer. “Talbot Goes Purple is not about pointing fingers — it’s about communities working together to find solutions to a problem that must be addressed.”

In 2017, Ferrari and her management team opted to begin the production of several self-originated programs that could educate, entertain, and potentially make a difference in American society. “The American Opioid Crisis: Talbot Goes Purple” is one of the first of those programs.

It was filmed during last year’s Talbot Goes Purple.

The film is in memory of Mariah Albee and all those lost to the American opioid crisis. Mariah’s Mission Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation honors the life of Mariah Albee. Since 2014, the fund has provided support groups and resources to empower families and individuals struggling with the effects of substance use disorder.

Her mother, Valerie Albee, spoke about her daughter and the path she took; and what she has gone through as a grieving mom in the film.

Mariah lost her life to a heroin overdose at the age of 29 on Sept. 7, 2012, at her parents’ house. “She was a loving and beautiful human being, and she came back to live with us three weeks before she passed away,” Valerie said. “In 2013, when I came here no one talked about it. (Guests) should take away knowing that there is help, support, love and there is an amazing recovery community here. I want them to know that (they) are not alone. Helping others there brings the community spirit together.”

Valerie also wore her daughter’s shoes to the premiere, the pair Mariah bought on the last week she was alive.

“We went to the gym three times together; and I put them on tonight because I want to wanted to know what it was like to walk in her shoes,” Valerie said.

An initiative from the Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Tidewater Rotary, in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Talbot Goes Purple empowers our youth and our community to “Go Purple” as a sign of taking a stand against substance abuse.

“This year we chose the kick off a little differently,” former Tidewater Rotary Club President Lucie Hughes said. “We welcome you and thank you for being here. This is the third year of Talbot Goes Purple as we continue to raise awareness and education as we stand up against substance abuse. Talbot Goes Purple continues to be embraced by this community. Thank you. The citizens of Talbot County have led by example.”

Talbot County is being joined this year by Queen Anne’s, Kent, Caroline, Dorchester, Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset, Frederick, Washington counties in Maryland and Sussex County in Delaware. Hughes said that the Talbot Goes Purple team has also been recently having conversations with Reno, Nevada, and a small town up in New York.

“We are tremendously grateful for the turnout tonight,” Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble said. “We need to educate grandparents, parents and kids, e-cigarettes and vaping, its stuff like 60-70 percent in just two-three years. I have policed in every county in the state of Maryland, and there is no place like Talbot County. We took our head out of the sand and we said we have a problem and we are going to tackle it.”

Talbot Goes Purple is a component fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit — donations to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Events coming up include a “Purple Football Game” at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, at Easton High School and the Mid-Shore Out of the Darkness Walk from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Idlewild Park.

Talbot Goes Purple is participating as a team in the Mid-Shore Out of the Darkness Walk. All proceeds raised will benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. If you are interested in joining, team members will meet right before registration and begin the walk together. For more information or to register, visit the Talbot Goes Purple Facebook Page @TalbotGoesPurple.

More information about Talbot Goes Purple is available at www.talbotgoespurple.org. Find Talbot Goes Purple on Facebook @TalbotGoesPurple or email talbotgoespurple@gmail.com. Anyone wearing purple is encouraged to post pictures and tag Talbot Goes Purple on Facebook.

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