Talbot County is “going purple” this month to help raise awareness of the opioid abuse epidemic that is still very much striking our community, the Eastern Shore, the state of Maryland and the entire nation.
Talbot Goes Purple is an initiative from Talbot County Sheriff’s Office and Tidewater Rotary, in partnership with Talbot County Public Schools, Saints Peter and Paul School and Mid-Shore Community Foundation. It is a substance abuse prevention initiative that engages our community and youth to stand against substance abuse.
The project promotes education and awareness, including the creation of purple clubs in our middle and high schools, through which students learn they do not need drugs or alcohol to meet life’s challenges. The project also encourages the “new conversation” between teens and parents, one that includes messages that prescription painkillers aren’t safe to use recreationally.
The Talbot community continues to suffer the effects of the opioid epidemic. So many of us have been touched by it. All too often, that connection has come with the death of a family member, a friend, a neighbor, a coworker.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a nearly 30% jump nationwide in fatal drug overdoses last year, from December 2019 to December 2020. The Eastern Shore experienced a 39% increase in overdoses in 2020, according to Sheriff Joe Gamble.
As for this year, the Shore has seen a 16% increase in deadly overdoses in the first quarter, according to the Maryland Opioid Operational Command Center.
Our opioid problems did not go away while we have focused on COVID-19. These increased overdose numbers occurred during the pandemic and serve as a stark reminder that we still have to keep our awareness up.
We join the organizers in encouraging Talbot County residents and business owners to be a part of the effort by illuminating their homes, businesses, offices and churches with purple lights throughout September to help raise awareness of opioid use, prevention and recovery.
The Star Democrat is joining the effort, turning the front page purple for the month. We also will be featuring informational messages and stories on substance use disorder, prevention and resources for help. Check our Facebook page and Twitter accounts for daily messages and information about substance abuse disorder.
Take this monthlong opportunity to learn more about opioids and about substance use disorder. Learn about important prevention strategies. Find help for someone you know. Visit websites like talbotgoespurple.org, beforeitstoolate.maryland.gov and www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose that offer a wealth of information and resources.
Join with Talbot Goes Purple this month. Show your support be lighting up the night purple; talk with your kids about the dangers of misusing prescription painkillers; talk with your kids about the Good Samaritan Law; get trained on Naloxone.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 888-407-8018.