Talbot County Teen Court: A Real Justice Program Run by Teens

Did you know that among Talbot County teens, who commit a crime and participate in the Teen Court Program, the recidivism rate is less than 10 percent?

Teen Court, which started in 1999 in Talbot County, is a program that is run by teens for teens. It is a voluntary diversion program that allows a first time offender to be judged by a jury of his/her peers rather than having his or her case heard by the Juvenile Court.  The program is offered to Talbot County teens ages 13 through 17 who are attending school. All parties must agree with diversion and admit involvement in the incident. Of the 30 to 40 cases a year, 50 percent of the cases heard in Talbot County involve underage possession of alcohol or marijuana.

Pictured L-R are Jayne Fitzgerald, new Teen Court Coordinator and Executive Director of Talbot Partnership; Nick White, a past participant in Talbot County’s Teen Court Program; and Bob Coleman, previous Teen Court Coordinator for Talbot County.

For Nick White of Easton, who started in the Teen Court Program over eight years ago while in eighth grade at Easton Middle School, the program was a reality check. He comments, “I stole a soda. The leaders of Teen Court had the biggest influence on me. They were someone who was not family. Specifically, Bob Coleman, Teen Court Coordinator at the time, was a role model for me.”

Cases are referred to Teen Court by the local law enforcement agencies, the school system, and the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. Students receive a letter from the Teen Court Coordinator which schedules an informal meeting to discuss Teen Court and the suitability for the case.  At the meeting, Teen Court personnel explain Teen Court, and answer any questions. If the student elects to continue with Teen Court, a Court date is set up. If they decide not to continue with Teen Court, the case is referred to the Department of Juvenile Services.

White went on to participate in the ROTC Program, serve as the head judge in Teen Court, and graduate from Easton High School with awards, before enlisting and serving in the Marine Corps. He feels the program gave him the people skills and charisma to become a judge in the Teen Court Program by his senior year – which was not an easy accomplishment. White, who went on to have a successful career in the Marine Corps, has recently come home and is working and serving his local fire department.

He adds, “The Teen Court Program gives students a second chance to change their behavior and students don’t have a record if they make a mistake.”

Teen Court cases are presented to a teen jury for determining sanctions for the offender.  Among some of the cases heard in Talbot County are second degree assaults, thefts under $1000, and cyber bullying. After careful consideration of the facts and circumstances, the jury determines a fair and appropriate disposition. Disposition can consist of 8 to 60 hours of community service and one to four jury duties. A jury may also mandate that the youth attend educational programs, write apology letters and/or essays. The respondent then has 60 days to complete their sanctions. If the youth fails to complete their sanctions, their case is referred to the Department of Juvenile Services where a petition may be filed for formal action. Only one to two cases a year don’t follow through with their sanctions.

Bob Coleman, who served as Talbot County’s Teen Court Coordinator for six years, states, “Nick was impulsive. Part of my mentoring was getting him to settle down and get his responsibilities done.”

He adds, “The youth offender is before a jury of his or her peers which has a bigger impression than regular court would have on them. It has an amazing effect on being accountable.”

The goals of the Teen Court Program are to reduce the number of youth in Juvenile Court, encourage youth to take responsibility for their actions and make them aware of consequences, utilize peer pressure to make the experience more meaningful, ensure youth receive fair and just disposition, educate youth about the judicial process, provide a productive community service activity, and to balance the needs of victims, the community, and respondents.

According to Coleman, another benefit of the program is that the youth offender meets new people from the school when he or she serves on the Teen Court jury, which is part of the consequences of their actions. This exposes the teens to people with different ideas from them and can have long-lasting effects.

Community partners of the Teen Court Program are the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, Talbot County Board of Education, Circuit Court of Talbot County, Talbot Family Network – Local Management Board, Talbot County Health Department, Talbot Partnership, Mid-Shore Pro-Bono, and Mid-Shore Mediation.

Coleman adds, “Teen Court speaks for itself as to the positive impact it has on the youth of our county.”

For Nick White, who has completed his time in the Marine Corps, serving in Okinawa, Japan and Korea, he continues to take with him the lessons he learned in Teen Court.

Talbot Partnership is the fiscal agent for the Teen Court Program. For further information, contact Jayne Fitzgerald, executive director of Talbot Partnership for the Prevention of Substance Abuse, at 410-819-8067. Talbot Partnership is located at 8 Goldsborough Street, Easton, MD 21601.

Talbot Partnership Partners with Easton High School Interactive Media Class

Talbot Partnership, a Talbot County nonprofit dedicated to educating the community about substance abuse prevention, recently partnered with Easton High School’s award-winning Interactive Media classes to create a new organizational website. According to Dave Stofa, Director of Athletics/Transportation and Security Manager for Talbot County Public Schools, following Talbot Partnership’s recent rebranding and change in marketing focus, the organization approached instructor Garnette Hines about having her Easton High School students create and maintain a new website for Talbot Partnership.

Talbot Partnership - EHS Intern - Garnette Hines & Cameron Miller 2017

Pictured L to R are Garnette Hines, Instructor with Easton High School’s Interactive Media classes, and Cameron Miller of Cordova, a senior at Easton High School creating and maintaining a website for local nonprofit, Talbot Partnership. The two are reviewing a video segment the students created on career and technology pathways in Talbot County for the Talbot County Board of Education’s Career and Technology Month.

Cameron Miller of Cordova, a senior in Hines Advanced Interactive Media class, agreed to take on the project. Miller, plans to attend UMBC in the fall of 2017 where he will be studying game or Web design, marrying his interest in computer science and graphic design. He comments, “I have especially enjoyed working on this project as it is a really cool message to be promoting – alcohol and drug prevention. It’s great to help a local organization with a mission to help with this issue in our community.”

Hines, whose students have been interning with local businesses in the community, adds, “This is giving our students real world experience, which is vital to being successful outside of the classroom. It is also a way for us to connect with the community who supports the school – strengthening the school/business partnership.”

With Miller leaving for college in the fall, Hines is grooming another Easton High School student to take over to provide continuity in updating and editing Talbot Partnership’s website.

For further information about Talbot Partnership’s programs, contact them at 410-819-8067.

Talbot Partnership Sponsors Holiday Breakfast

On December 7, over 65 people representing a wide range of concerned citizens, community organizations, public agencies, and government attended Talbot Partnership’s annual holiday breakfast at Integrace Bayleigh Chase in Easton. Jayne Fitzgerald, Executive Director, stressed the importance of destigmatizing those suffering from Substance Use Disorder diseases and the importance of continued community commitment to drug awareness. Each guest was also given the opportunity to share their role in the community.

talbot-partnership-2016-holiday-breakfast

Front row L to R: Addie Eckardt, Jayne Fitzgerald, Dr. Fredia Wadley, Ann Roach, and Johnny Mautz. Back row L to R: Carl Pergler, Sandy Brown, Dave Short, Dave Stofa, Ted Book, and Joe Gamble. Missing Board Members: Ivy Sherwood, Aric Rosenbach, Chris Callas, Jody Gunn, and Dee Skinner.

Through drug education, awareness, and advocacy, Talbot Partnership, which was founded in 1991, encourages the community to recognize that substance use disorders are chronic diseases of the brain and not character flaws. For further information about how you can become involved, call 410-819-8067 or visit www.talbotpartnership.org.

Talbot Partnership Recognizes Board Member Aric Rosenbach

Talbot Partnership representatives: Barry Cox, Board President; Sharon Huseman, Executive Director; and Aric Rosenbach, Board Member

Talbot Partnership representatives: Barry Cox, Board President; Sharon Huseman, Executive Director; and Aric Rosenbach, Board Member

Aric Rosenbach was recognized for six years of service to the board of Talbot Partnership, a Drug and Alcohol prevention organization in Talbot County.  Aric was applauded for his instrumental role on the board and his effectiveness as a fundraiser for the Partnership.  Aric and his wife Sandie lost a beloved 18-year-old nephew to drugs and alcohol seven years ago. He plans to remain on the fundraising committee of Talbot Partnership. For more information about drug and alcohol prevention in Talbot County, please visit www.talbotpartnership.org

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Talbot Partnership Launches ‘Empower Our Girls’ Campaign

Talbot Partnership recently launched a campaign geared at empowering young girls to make good choices by avoiding drugs and alcohol.

The campaign, supported by the Women and Girls Fund, comes on the heels of the latest Maryland Youth Risk Behavior Survey that revealed startling statistics about Talbot County’s students. According to the survey, 28.2 percent of Talbot 8th grade girls have seriously considered suicide. In addition, 32.7 percent felt sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks and stopped usual activity, according to the survey.

Stressors such feeling sad and hopeless as those revealed in the survey can often lead to drug and alcohol use, particularly as coping mechanisms for self-esteem issues and depression. In turn, using drugs or alcohol can then lead to risky and often life-threatening behaviors.

“Young women and girls struggle with different issues than males and may use substances to relieve negative feelings,” said Sharon Huseman, executive director for Talbot Partnership. “We need to provide support and guidance so our young women know someone is there for them.”

The Empower Our Girls campaign encourages women to offer support, listening, time and coping skills. The campaign includes a television PSA featuring Talbot County girls and women that encourages community involvement and urges moms and caregivers to show they care.

“To be a part of something that might change the life of young girls everywhere is so influential to me,” said India Leigh Brittingham, a 10th grader at Easton High School who participated in the campaign. “I was pleased to work with such amazing people and lucky to be a part of something so great.”

The campaign includes a tip sheet that includes signs of stress, local resources and 10 things women can do for girls. Also included is a coupon from Joe’s Bagel Café in an effort to encourage spending time with our young women and girls.

The tip sheet is available online at www.talbotpartnership.org. The website also includes the campaign PSA and the full Youth Risk Behavior Survey report.

Talbot Partnership envisions a community free of substance abuse, where youth and adults lead healthy, safe and productive lives. Talbot Partnership is the only nonprofit coalition that focuses on substance abuse prevention. Visit www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.

 

Tools for Listening to Your Teen (Prevention 101)

When we asked a group of kids ages 13 through 17 about their concerns, they said they wanted to be able to communicate with their parents in healthy, positive ways. Can you believe it? Your teen wants a connection with you as much as you want one with them! Our kids want to talk to us! So where’s the breakdown?

Some kids just need an invitation. Others need more time to open up. Still others, though, are like the girl who said, Every time I attempt to talk to my parents, they either yell at me before I tell my whole story or lecture me. If they’d be more open to talk with me and let me do some more talking, I’d talk with them a lot more.”

Wherever you and your teen are on that spectrum of speak­ing, things can get better. And they will, when you take advantage of some tools parents and youth workers and counselors have been using with the kids they care about. Let’s help you and your teen get to a deeper level by stocking your com­munication toolbox.

Listening Tools

Here are seven ways to make sure you really hear your teen — and to make sure he or she knows it.

  1. Give him your full attention. I know you’re so busy that you hardly have a moment to yourself. But now isn’t the time for mul­titasking. Turn off the TV, your cell phone or computer — what­ever’s competing for your ears.
  2. Reflect her emotions; don’t mock them. Teens love to see their feelings reflected in your face. It tells them you understand how they felt when the coach yelled at them today. If their emotions seem over-the-top or the reasons for them seem trivial, remember that their world is smaller than yours — which makes each event look bigger.
  3. Restate in your own words what you heard him say. Let’s say your son is dating a girl named Jen. One day he comes home and tells you about Jen flirting with his best friend. You might say, “So, what I’m hearing you say is that it really hurt when Jen looked at Brian with the look she usually gives you.” Restating helps ensure that you’re truly hearing your teen. If you restate the situation incorrectly, it gives your teen a chance to re-explain, too.
  4. Display attentive body language. Skip the eye rolling, sighs, arms crossed tightly against the chest, and looking over your shoulder or into the distance. Sit cross-legged on the floor or sofa, or turn a chair around and sit with your arms resting on the back. Lean forward slightly, nodding as appropriate.
  5. Decide to be interested in what she’s saying. This can be hard after a long day at work, coming home to a teen who wants to chatter about things that seem insignif­icant to you. The more you pay attention and ask clarifying questions, the more you’ll find yourself interested in her life. It may help to remind yourself that what you’re really interested in isher.
  6. Listen to actions.How do you do that? You notice whether your teen is slamming doors or leaving incriminating notes from a boyfriend or girlfriend around the house. Is something wrong at school? In a relationship? Pay attention to their behaviors.
  7. Be alert for moments of honesty and vulnerability.Teens will, on occasion, break down and spill what’s on their hearts. When they do, give them all the time they need to share. Be supportive. Then ask, “Do you want me to give suggestions or help? Or do you just want me to listen?”

Location Tools

Where you communicate with your teen is important. Here are four things to keep in mind about the places in which you talk:

  1. Pick a place that provides an “out.”Kids say it’s easier to talk with their parents if there’s something else to focus on when things get awkward. Examples of “safety valves”: traveling in the car, eating ice cream or a meal, playing a game, walking in the park, putting a puzzle together, painting a wall, going to a museum, riding bikes. Teens want to talk, but don’t want the pressure of having to do it without a break.
  2. Avoid distractions.A safety valve (see #1) is a relief; a dis­traction grabs attention whether you want it to or not. Is that restaurant a good place to talk, or is the music always too loud? Have you turned off your cell phone? If you talk in the living room, will you hear little brother bouncing that tennis ball against the garage door? One teen found that even car conversations didn’t work in her family: “Sometimes [my parents] are too concentrated on driving or whatever they are doing and don’t pay attention to what I am saying.”
  3. Choose a safe place.Kids want a place where they feel at ease sharing the scary parts of their hearts. Where is that for your teen? In his room? In yours? On a jogging path? If you don’t know, it’s okay to ask.
  4. If you find a place that works, stick with it.Try taking your teen to breakfast or lunch once a week. Establish a habit like this and your kids may get comfortable enough to open up, even asking hard questions about life. Try not to bring your own list of hard ques­tions, though; your teen may begin to shy away from those meal­times if they turn into interrogations or preaching practice.

Talbot Partnership encourages parents to be aware of the signs and symptoms of drug abuse so they can intervene early to help prevent their children from starting or continuing to use alcohol/drugs.

For more information on the Prevention of Substance Abuse please contact Talbot Partnership @410-819-8067. We are Caring for our Community by providing information, resources and support to prevent substance abuse.  

 

By Joe White and Lissa Halls Johnson

Please also visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.

How to Assess Your Teen’s Risk Factors for Drug Addiction

Drug use is common among teenagers. By late adolescence, a recent study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry showed that as many as 78 percent of teens have abused alcohol and over 40 percent have used other drugs. Although these statistics are daunting, millions of teens are not using drugs. Which group does your teen belong to? How can you know?

Addiction has no single cause, but rather often results from a number of biological, social and psychological risk factors. Here are the top 10 risk factors for teen drug addiction:

#1 Family History of Addiction

Addiction has a strong genetic component. If a parent, grandparent, sibling or other blood relative has struggled with some form of addiction (drugs, alcohol, gambling, food, sex), your child is at greater risk as well. For example, children of alcoholics are two to four times more likely than other children to become alcoholics themselves. In addition to the many genes involved in addiction, there are a number of environmental influences that play a role including parenting style and family dynamics.

A new generation of children being born already addicted to opiates and other powerful drugs will likely face a greater risk of addiction later in life.

#2 Impulsive Personality

Early problems with impulsivity (the inability to control actions) and sensation-seeking (the need for high levels of stimulation) are associated with a higher risk for later drug and alcohol problems. People who tend to overlook the potential negative effects of a specific action are also at increased risk.

#3 Stress

High levels of stress put teens at greater risk for drug use. According to a survey by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, high stress teens are twice as likely as their peers to smoke, drink and use illegal drugs. The opposite problem — frequent boredom — also put teens at risk for drug use.

Abuse of stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin, commonly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has become an issue among students competing to get into top colleges. Recent stories show teens are actually snorting ADHD drugs rather than taking them orally to get a faster effect.

#4 Having a Mental Health Condition

Research increasingly shows that teens use drugs to find a solution to negative feelings or moods. Those who have depression, anxiety, personality disorders or other mental health conditions are at greater risk for self-medicating with drugs. Some of the disorders most commonly associated with addictions include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression and anxiety disorders.

#5 Lack of Parental Supervision or Involvement

Teens who do not have a close relationship with their parents, or who receive little parental monitoring or supervision, have an increased risk of addiction. Other related risk factors include low or unrealistically high parental expectations, inconsistent or severe punishment, and high levels of family conflict.

#6 Having Friends Who Use Drugs

Peer pressure is a strong factor in the initiation of teen drug use. In an effort to fit in, look cool or just to satisfy their curiosity, teens are more likely to use drugs if their friends are using or have favorable attitudes toward drug use. Teens who have friends that use marijuana or other drugs are at nearly three times the risk of becoming regular marijuana users themselves, according to a study by scientists from Cardiff University and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The earlier a teen starts drinking or using drugs (often by age 10-12), the greater the risk of later addiction.

#7 Childhood Trauma

Early childhood abuse, neglect and other forms of trauma are highly predictive of later addiction. Research shows that early life experiences program the brain for what to expect later in life. Kaiser Permanent’s Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study found a clear relationship between severe childhood stress and all types of addictions. Adverse childhood experiences can include emotional, physical and sexual abuse, neglect, having a mentally ill or addicted parent, losing a parent to death or divorce, living with domestic violence and having one or both parents in prison. The more adverse experiences a child has the higher the chance of drug or alcohol problems.

#8 Perceptions About Drugs

A teen who believes that drugs and alcohol aren’t very harmful or that their parents approve of their drug use is far more likely to become addicted to drugs. Prescription drug abuse has been rising among teens, and they often believe these drugs are inherently safe because doctors prescribe them. Most teens get prescription drugs from the medicine cabinet in their home or the homes of friends.

#9 School Problems

Teenagers who struggle in school are more likely to become involved with drugs or alcohol, particularly if their academic difficulties begin as early as elementary school. Warning signs include having a learning disability, poor grades, skipping school, low motivation and poor bonding with classmates and teachers.

#10 Lack of Community Support

Living in a low-income community or one where drugs are easily accessible and alternative activities, such as parks, community centers and sports programs are unavailable has been associated with higher levels of drug use.

Your teen’s probability of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol depends on how many of these risks they’re exposed to and their stage of development. The good news is that each risk factor can be combated with protective factors, such as a strong parent-child relationship, opportunities for social involvement, academic support and clear standards for behavior. Even in the adolescent years, parents are extremely influential. By taking steps to shift the balance in favor of protection rather than risk, you can help your teen avoid a lifetime struggle with addiction.

David Sack, M.D., is board certified in psychiatry, addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine.

For further information on the dangers of alcohol and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership-Caring for our Community @ 410-819-8067. Please also visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.

Parents: Teens Who Smoke Marijuana at Risk of Brain, Health Disorders

Whether states should legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use is a hot topic across the country. As the debate continues, more preteens, teens and young adults are beginning to use the substance with the feeling that it is safe. In fact, 36 percent of all seniors in high school and 7 percent of eighth-graders report using the drug in the past month, according to a recent study. Though the public’s perception that marijuana is a harmless drug continues to increase, research shows it can have a damaging impact on developing brains and may lead to lifelong addiction.

“Teens are seeing marijuana as a safe substance, but its effects on the adolescent brain can be dangerous, especially if there is heavy use. As the stigma of marijuana use decreases, the number of teens using the drug has increased. More U.S. high school students now smoke marijuana than they do cigarettes,” said Garry Sigman, MD, director of the Adolescent Medicine division at Loyola University Health System and professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

Marijuana is an addictive substance and, according to Dr. Sigman, adolescents are 2-4 times more likely to become dependent on the drug within two years after first using it as compared with adult users.

“Marijuana is the most common substance addiction being treated in adolescents in rehabilitation centers across the country. Like all addictive substances, marijuana is used to lessen uncomfortable feelings like anxiety and depression. Because the type of addiction is seen as less ‘intense’ in comparison with other substances such as cocaine or heroin, many people don’t realize that marijuana can cause dependence and has a withdrawal syndrome,” Sigman said.

While some adolescents use marijuana only occasionally due to peer pressure at a party or in a social setting, others self-medicate with marijuana to cope with emotions and stress. One of the signs of a substance-use disorder is when drugs are used often to cope with uncomfortable feelings.

Addiction isn’t the only hazard for adolescents when it comes to smoking marijuana. Research shows that heavy use can lead to neurotoxicity and alterations in brain development leading to:

  • Impairment in thinking
  • Poor educational outcomes and perhaps a lower IQ
  • Increased likelihood of dropping out of school
  • Symptoms of chronic bronchitis
  • Increased risk of psychotic disorders in those who are predisposed

“Parents should inform themselves about the scientific facts relating to marijuana and the developing brain and be able to discuss the topic calmly and rationally. They need to explain that the dose of the drug in a ‘joint’ is three to four times higher than in years past. Also, if the parents occasionally used marijuana during their lives, they should now know that there’s a risk if used before adulthood,” Sigman said.

Explore further: NIDA offers tools for talking to teens about marijuana

Provided by Loyola University Health System

Talbot Partnership is Caring for Our Community by helping to keep our youth safe from the dangers of alcohol and other drugs. Please contact us @ 410-819-8067 or visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.

by Evie Polsley

 

How to Keep Teens from Drinking During the Holidays

With school out for holiday break, some teens may be tempted to turn to parties and alcohol for entertainment. As the demands and distractions of the holiday season approach, it is important for parents to be aware of the dangers of underage drinking.

Underage drinking causes both destructive consequences and tragic outcomes. Many teens don’t drink alcohol. However, some teens say that for those who do the primary setting is at home or a friend’s home.

Teen drinking can damage areas of the developing brain that shape memory, learning, impulse control, reasoning and decision-making. Twenty percent of the alcohol consumed in the United States today is consumed by underage drinkers.

More than 90 percent of that alcohol is consumed in “binge drinking” – five or more drinks in a few hours. This type of drinking also increases risk of injury and death, sexual assault and other violence, as well as alcohol dependence. It increases the risk of high blood pressure, some mental illnesses and liver disease.

Alcohol plays a key role in accidents (including vehicle crashes, drowning and falls) as well as homicides and suicides, which are the leading causes of death among youth.

With so many serious consequences, parents may want to consider taking steps to protect their children during unsupervised time.

First and most importantly, talk to your teen about alcohol. Do not assume they know how destructive it is or what your expectations are. Spend time with your teen doing things together such as watching a movie, shopping, walking, playing a game or going out to eat. Or better yet ask them what they would like to do.

Know what alcohol you have in your home. However keep it monitored and safely locked away.

Do not leave teens home alone overnight. Have your child stay with a family member or family friend if you need to be away.

When it’s an option, have family, friends or neighbors check in on your teens during the day if you are working.

When your teenager is invited to a friend’s home, check with the parents to ensure they have rules about not drinking.

And finally, have your teen call you periodically when he or she is out to ensure their safety.

Always remember despite what parents might think, teens do value their advice and involvement.

Michelle Gazzigli contributed to this article

When Your Friend or Someone Else Overdoses

When Your Friend or Someone Else Overdoses

Intentional or accidental overdoses can occur when you or your friend or someone else takes too much of a drug—even if it’s the first time taking the drug, and whether the drug is illicit, prescription, or over the counter. Should an overdose happen to your friend or someone else, you have to think about your responsibilities to that person.

A drug overdose can be hard to identify, because overdose symptoms vary based on the drug and the person taking it. Depending on the drug, symptoms can include trouble breathing, convulsions, vomiting, or unconsciousness.

In addition to being unsure about you’re the person’s condition, you may also be scared because:

“I don’t want my parents to know I was around drugs.”

“I wasn’t even supposed to be at this party.”

“I was the one who gave them the drugs and I don’t want to get into trouble.”

“But what if they just needs to sleep it off?”

The truth is, even if you’re going to get into trouble, if you don’t do the right thing your friend could be critically injured or die. If you know something is wrong, get help. Call 911, or ask your friend’s parents or a responsible adult for help. Doing nothing is the worst thing you can do!

 

What should you do in the case of a drug overdose?

If you suspect a someone has overdosed, getting medical attention can save his or her life! Immediately Call 911, give accurate details about what happened, and make sure you provide first responders or emergency medical personnel with as much information as possible.

  • What drug(s) did your friend/person take?
  • How long ago were they taken?
  • How much was taken?
  • Who else should be contacted immediately?

Be honest with the medical professionals who ask questions about your friend/person. Withholding even one piece of information or lying could have serious consequences. The medical staff must know as much as they can to treat your friend/person properly. It can be the difference between life and death!

Calling 911 during an overdose can often mean the difference between life and death. The chance of surviving an overdose depends greatly on how quickly a person receives medical assistance.

At least 17 states and the District of Columbia have already enacted Good Samaritan Laws, which provide limited immunity from arrest or prosecution for minor drug law violations for people who get help at the scene of an overdose. More states are considering similar measures.

Good Samaritan laws do not protect people from arrest for other offenses, such as selling or trafficking drugs. But they do protect the caller and overdose victim from arrest and/or prosecution for simple possession, possession of paraphernalia, and/or being under the influence.

You would want someone to call for help if you were the overdose victim. Getting help is the right thing to do any time someone’s life is at risk.

Just Think Twice contributed to this article.

Talbot Partnership encourages parents to talk to your children about the dangers of someone overdosing on drugs or alcohol.  

For further information on the dangers of alcohol and other drugs, contact Talbot Partnership Caring for Our Community at 410-819-8067. Please also visit our website at www.talbotpartnership.org or find us on Facebook.