Public Outreach Sessions and Naloxone – Caroline County
Caroline County’s Community Awareness Presentation aims to premier a video highlighting the severity of the opioid and heroin crisis in Caroline County and throughout Maryland in an accessible format. The event is intended to initiate dialog about addiction and how it can impact anyone regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status in order to reduce stigma and to mobilize the community to take action.
The presentation consists of three parts—a naloxone training before and after the video, and then time for storytelling during which, for example, two parents shared their experiences with having kids in recovery. There are also resource tables and staff on hand to answer questions.
It’s organized and sponsored by the Education Prevention sub-committee of the Local Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council (LDAAC). The Caroline County LDAAC has representation from over 35 organizations in the County and serves as the Opioid Intervention Team. The Education Prevention sub-committee is made up of a member from the county’s health department, emergency director, program director for the drug court, and citizen members, all who have varied perspectives on how the community can address this crisis. In addition to the LDAAC, representatives from different state agencies have attended these presentations, including the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office and the State’s Attorney’s office. Local firehouses are a good location to hold these events for multiple reasons 1) they provide an opportunity to address potential stigma around substance abuse disorder within the local responder community, 2) they provide credibility for the event and allows the local fire departments to use their branding and take ownership; and 3) in some of the smaller communities, firehouses may be the sole “community” center available. To date, there have been eight Caroline County’s Community Awareness Presentations at firehouses in Caroline County, with participation ranging from 40-150 people attending and an additional 200 people have been trained in naloxone administration.
The presentations have proven their power to raise awareness about the heroin and opioid crisis and to bring the community together to be trained on naloxone administration. The participation of multiple state agencies and the LDAAC demonstrates how the three focus areas – prevention, treatment, and enforcement – are being addressed by these agencies simultaneously. Community engagement is another crucial part of these events with speakers sharing their stories and humanizing the epidemic.
Interested in learning more? Contact:
Sara B. Visintainer
Chief of Staff, Caroline County Commissioners Office