Tony Hoffman Shares His Experience at Opioid Conference

The Talbot County Department of Social Services recently sponsored a free Opioid Conference at the Talbot Community Center in Easton, Maryland. There were approximately 80 community members in attendance for the daylong event. The conference featured former BMX pro and recovering addict, Tony Hoffman, who told a powerful story of redemption.

The staff of the Talbot County Department of Social Services with Tony Hoffman, BMX Competitor and Recovering Addict. L-R are Katie Pederson, Child Welfare Supervisor; Christine Abbatiello, Adoption/Foster Care Supervisor; Lindsay Newcomb, Parent Education Coordinator; Tony Hoffman, Debbe Faribank, Adult Services Supervisor, Chrissy Montague, Option Respite Coordinator; Shari Blades, Assistant Director, and Linda Webb.

Hoffman shared a detailed account of his experience as a BMX pro featured on the cover of a magazine in high school to his experimentation with drugs that ultimately led him to robbing someone at gun point to fuel his addiction.  Having experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows during his battle with addiction, he has dedicated his life to bringing awareness around the country through motivational speaking.

Hoffman commented about first becoming a successful athlete in middle school, stating, “I began looking up to athletes on television and started mimicking how they acted – entitled.”

After giving up on BMX racing after high school, Hoffman no longer had an outlet to keep him involved and he began going to house parties. He told himself he was only going to use drugs one time, but that led to more frequent use. He stated, “One pill made me an addict. There is a doorway that exists. I had opened up the door the first day I tried drugs. Most people who have walked through that door are dead.”

Pictured L-R are panelists Charlie Roe, Dry Dock Recovery and Wellness Center; Jayne Fitzgerald, Talbot Partnership; and Lt. John Bollinger, Talbot County Sheriff’s Office.

Hoffman added, “I didn’t realize how much I was going to have to change to get to the other side of the door. Every day of my life now is working to stay on the other side of that door.”

He tried to get back into BMX racing in 2011, but it didn’t work out due to a severe knee injury. He founded the Freewheel Project in 2012, which has brought access to action sports to kids in the community in effort for youth to develop healthy life choices. About his new nonprofit, Hoffman said, “My calling wasn’t for me to be a selfish athlete. God told me I had a bike and to use it. The bike also gave me the microphone I use today.”

Following Hoffman’s speech, he spent time thoroughly answering people’s questions and providing motivational feedback.  Lindsay Newcomb, LGSW, Parent Education Coordinator for the Talbot County Department of Social Services, comments, “Listening to Hoffman recount his experiences provided a sense of hope and inspiration to the audience, recovery is possible.”

Pictured L-R are panelists Bruce Strazza, Val Albee, Mariah’s Mission Fund; and Tina Brown, Eastern Shore Crisis Response.

The conference also presented two panel presentations from local residents sharing personal stories, law enforcement, parent education, peer support, and local resources. In addition to the presentations, many local agencies brought resources to share through informational tables.  At the end of the day, the Talbot County Health Department offered an opportunity for NARCAN (Naloxone) training and certification. NARCAN is used to treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency situation.  Approximately 25 community members were certified and distributed a NARCAN kit.

Partners participating in the Conference included the Talbot County Health Department, Dri-Dock Recovery, Talbot Partnership, Mariah’s Mission, Rising Above Disease, Maryland Coalition of Families, Eastern Shore Crisis Response, Recovery for Shore, Talbot County Sheriff’s Office, Shore Regional, Corsica River Mental Health Services, and Chesapeake Voyagers.

Recovery: Retreat House at Hillsboro Plans Spring Programs on AA and Meditation

The Retreat House at Hillsboro is hosting several events that are open to the public throughout the spring.

On Saturday, April 22, a half-day retreat, “Recovering Spirit: Fulfilling our Authentic Selves” will be held from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. This is the third retreat led by the Reverend Paul Gennett, Jr. and it will focus on the gift of living into a fulfilled recovering life through AA’s Steps 8-12. The session includes discussion and time for meditation. A light breakfast and lunch is provided. There is no charge for the retreat but a suggested donation of $25 would be gratefully accepted to cover expenses. Register at https://recoveringspirit3.eventbrite.com.

Francie Thayer, Director, Retreat House at Hillsboro will lead weekly half-hour meditation classes.

Beginning on Saturday May 6, the Rev. Marianne Ell will be leading worship services at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Hillsboro MD. The service will begin at 5:30 PM. Rev. Ell is the most recent Rector at St. Paul’s, ending her time there in 1996. Her recent return to the area and love of the community and church have drawn her to this offering. Assisting her will be the Rev. Rachel Field, current assistant Director of the Retreat House at Hillsboro MD. All are welcome.

Weekly meditation classes will begin on Monday, May 8 at 5:45 p.m. These classes are designed for people who are challenged to make time for a meditation practice and for those who aren’t sure how to get a practice started. The 30-minute session, led by Retreat House spiritual director Francie Thayer, will include guidance for beginners. A peaceful space and pillows will also be provided. To sign up, send an email to info@retreathousehillsboro.org or call (410) 364-7042.

On Saturday, June 3, the Retreat House grounds will be open for a Neighborhood Barbecue from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Drinks, desserts, condiments and paper goods will be provided and grills will be set up. Guests are asked to bring meats and side dishes to share as well as blankets and lawn chairs. Some seating will be available. RSVP by Monday, May 29 to info@retreathousehillsboro.org or call (410) 364-7042.

Located on the grounds of St. Paul’s Church at 22005 Church Street, Hillsboro, Maryland, the Retreat House is open for group retreats and meetings, individual hermitages, meditation and any who seek a spiritual connection. A traditional Chartres-style walking labyrinth is always open for walking and prayer. The Retreat House at Hillsboro is a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton, MD. For more information contact Francie Thayer, Director, at (410) 364-7042, info@retreathouse.org, or visit us on Facebook.com/RetreatHouseAtHillsboro.

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Photo caption: Francie Thayer, Director, Retreat House at Hillsboro will lead weekly half-hour meditation classes.

Let Troopers Dispose of Unwanted Prescription Drugs April 29

The Maryland State Police in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration are asking citizens dispose of unwanted prescription drugs during the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, April 29, 2017 from 10:00 am to 2:00 p.m. at State Police, Barrack Easton, 7053 Ocean Gateway.

State police barracks throughout Maryland will be participating in the National Drug Take Back Day.  Each barrack will act as a collection station giving citizens an opportunity to dispose of all unwanted and unused prescription drugs.  The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

Second only to marijuana, non-medical prescription drugs are the most commonly used drug in the country.  According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs are finding an unlimited supply in their family’s medicine cabinet.

Locally during the last initiative in October 2016, troopers collected over 2,100 pounds of prescription drugs.  Nationally, 672,000 pounds (336 tons) of prescription medications were collected from members of the public.  When added to the collections from the previous Take-Back events, more than 7.1 million pounds of prescription medications have been removed from circulation.

For more information, contact Lt R. Connolly, Bk I, at 410-819-4757, or Sgt. Davaughn Parker, MSP OMC, at 410-653-4236.

Recovery: Inaugural Tri-County Prevention Walk set for May 13

The inaugural tri-county prevention walk is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, May 13 at Church Hill park in Church Hill, and supports efforts at keeping our communities drug- and alcohol-free.

The free walk is a collaborative effort from the prevention offices of Caroline, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, with the theme, ‘Making a difference – one step at a time.’

“This walk is for anyone who’s had drugs or alcohol affect their lives,” said Annette Duckery, prevention coordinator for Kent County. “We’re working hard to prevent drug use and alcohol abuse in our communities, and this offers everyone the chance to support our efforts.”

The event includes fun for the entire family, with a live DJ, free back packs, snacks and games including corn hole. Registration is available online at Eventbrite.

The walk coincides with National Prevention Week, which is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, mental and/or substance use disorders. This year’s prevention week is from May 14 until May 20.

“National prevention week offers the perfect opportunity to show our solidarity in the fight against substance use disorders,” said Iris Carter, prevention coordinator for Queen Anne’s County. “With several overdoses in our area each week, we’ve got to come together and support prevention efforts across our region.”

Prevention efforts start young, and can help keep drug use from starting.

“We all can invest in drug and alcohol prevention,” said Melanie Rodriguez, prevention coordinator for Caroline County. “Prevention really IS the best treatment.

For more information on the walk, please contact Duckery at 410-778-7918 for Kent County; Carter at 410-758-1306 ext. 4524 in Queen Anne’s and Rodriguez at 410-479-8164 in Caroline. The Tri-County Prevention Walk is a collaboration between the health department prevention offices of Caroline, Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties. The walk also is supported by SAMHSA and the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration.

April is National Alcohol Awareness Month

While the use of heroin dominates our news, alcohol remains the most commonly used and abused substance among our youth. According to the latest youth survey, about 65 percent of Talbot County high school students have had at least one drink. And, about 12 percent of our high schoolers have driven after drinking.

Parents are a powerful source of positive and reliable information. In fact, research has shown that kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50 percent less likely to use these substances than those who don’t have such conversations.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, here are some guidelines that can help parents talk about alcohol and drug use:

Listen before you talk: For kids, knowing that someone is really listening is most important. Ask open-ended questions. Be involved. Be honest and open. Be positive: talking about these issues can build bridges rather than walls. And remember, addiction is a chronic, progressive disease that can be linked to family history and genetics. So, if you there is a family history of problems be matter of fact about it, as one would be with any other chronic disease, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

The longer children can delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop problems.Parents can make a difference – that’s why it is so important to help your child connect the dots and make smart decisions about alcohol and drug use.

To learn more about how to prevent alcohol and drug abuse in your child, contact Alexandra Duff, Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator at Talbot County Health Department, at 410-819-5600.

The Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office helps community groups, agencies and individuals in providing programs and activities to prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse, and to build a healthier community. Resources include parenting skills, video and resource loan library, awareness campaigns and educational workshops.

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.

Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism Now Accepting Concept Papers for Grants That Help Prevent Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse

The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism is now accepting concept papers for 2017 AmeriCorps State-Targeted Priority program grants in Maryland. These grants will fund service activities that address critical community needs, namely the need to prevent prescription drug and opioid abuse and strengthen law enforcement and community relations.

In order to understand statewide needs and identify prospective applicants for this grant opportunity, the Office on Service and Volunteerism is partnering with Governor Larry Hogan’s Opioid Operational Command Center, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“Marylanders from every corner of the state know the devastation that heroin and opioid abuse can cause,” said Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford. “That’s why it’s so important that groups already dedicated to community service become a part of our statewide fight to end this epidemic.”

Through additional funds provided by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service, the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism has hired a special initiatives coordinator to assist in this grant process. Working with the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, the coordinator’s goal is to ensure that Maryland is equipped to effectively address the opioid epidemic.

The grants come on the heels of Governor Hogan’s announcement of the administration’s 2017 Heroin and Opioid Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement Initiative, a multi-pronged and sweeping administrative and legislative effort to continue addressing Maryland’s ongoing opioid and heroin epidemic.

The first step in the application process for a 2017 AmeriCorps State-Targeted Priority program grant is to submit a concept paper, due by 10 a.m. on Friday, March 10, 2017. Concept papers will be reviewed and applicants will be notified of acceptance by March 24. At that time, accepted applicants will be invited to complete a full grant application, due in April. The funding year will run from August 15, 2017, to August 14, 2018. To submit a concept paper or for more information, visit gosv.maryland.gov/available- funding/.

About the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism
The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism is a unit of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives. Through the use of federal dollars, the office funds AmeriCorps State programs to support community service efforts in Maryland. Each year, the office recognizes more than 200,000 Maryland volunteers on behalf of the governor.

Recovery: Maryland Public TV to Air ‘Breaking Heroin’s Grip’ February 11

Maryland Public Television (MPT) and over two dozen other local TV and radio stations to air a new program called Breaking Heroin’s Grip: Road To Recovery on February 11 at 7 p.m. The program was produced in association with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – Behavioral Health Administration .

The program focuses on the struggles and recovery efforts of three Maryland residents, in rural and urban settings, dealing with opioid addictions. The documentary portion will last 40 minutes and will be followed by a 20 minute live phone bank staffed by crisis hotline staff who will provide callers with information on treatment. The number to call is 800-422-0009.

The program was arranged with broadcast and print media as part of an effort to bring localized coverage of the opioid epidemic. Maryland is among many states with surging numbers of fatal overdoses largely from opioids, which include prescription painkillers and heroin.

For more information please go here  http://www.mpt.org/breakingheroin

 

Talbot County Health Dept to Help Shatter Drug Myths in Late January

About out a third of high school seniors across the country report using an illegal drug sometime in the past year, and more than 10 percent report non-medical use of a narcotic painkiller, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Here on the Mid-Shore, more than 7 percent of our high school seniors have tried heroin.

Drugs can put a teenager’s health and life in jeopardy, but many teens are not aware of the risks. Today’s popular culture is filled with inaccurate information about drugs. We at the Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office think it’s time to ‘Shatter the Myths.’ With science-based information on drugs and their impact on the body, teenagers can make well-informed decisions before engaging in risky behavior.

January 23 through 29 marks National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week, which is a time for teens to shatter myths about drugs and drug use. For information, resources, interactive activities and more, visit www.teens.drugabuse.gov. For local information and resources, contact Alexandra Duff, Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator at Talbot County Health Department, at 410-819-5600.

The Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office helps community groups, agencies and individuals in providing programs and activities to prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse, and to build a healthier community. Resources include parenting skills, video and resource loan library, awareness campaigns and educational workshops.

Profles in Recovery: Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office

Did you know that 85 percent of people in recovery for alcoholism still smoke, according to the Association of American Family Physicians (AAFP)? In fact, the AAFP says people in recovery may have a greater addiction to nicotine than smokers without a problem with alcohol.

In addition, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism highlights the connection between smoking and alcohol:

  • 80-95 percent of alcoholics smoke.
  • Alcoholics smoke at a rate of three times greater than non-alcoholics.
  • 70 percent of alcoholics are classified as heavy smokers, who smoke more than a pack per day.

Just like quitting alcohol or drugs, giving up cigarettes is one of the best things you can do for yourself. In fact, research shows that quitting smoking actually improves the rate of recovery from other addictions.

The Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office is committed to ending the death and disease caused by tobacco use, and offers free support and resources to anyone ready to quit. They can help you quit cigarettes, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco – even flavored cigars. Their free cessation help includes Chantix, the patch and nicotine gum, along with support on achieving your quit goal. TCHD also can come to any local business and teach smoking cessation classes for your employees. Please call us at 410-819-5600 if you’d like to learn more. Funding for their free cessation support and resources comes from the Cigarette Restitution Fund

Andria Duff, Prevention Coordinator at Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office.

Alexandra Duff, Prevention Coordinator at Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office.

Community Support

The Prevention Office helps community groups, agencies and individuals in providing programs and activities that help prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse. So far this year they’ve provided more than $38,000 in local grants to community organizations, churches and schools on prevention programs and activities and have also launched several mini-campaigns aimed at promoting alcohol-, tobacco- and drug-free lives. Their activities this year also have included several prevention events, both with students and with various community groups.

Talbot County Health Department also work with retailers to reduce tobacco sales to minors, through the Synar program. The Synar program helps ensure our county remains compliant with federal legislation that requires states to enforce laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco products to minors. Each year they conduct educational activities, including youth events, and provide resources for retailers.

Prescription Pills and the Heroin Crisis

The Prevention Office works toward increased awareness and education on the dangers of opioids, including important resources for the community. They work with several community partners on medication drop-off and proper disposal, information on opioids including use, risks and overdose prevention; promotion of the Good Samaritan Law and a host of other activities. Their prevention funding comes from the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant from SAMSHA and the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration.

Underage Drinking and Responsible Retailers

Lastly, TCHD works with local schools and other organizations on preventing underage drinking, binge drinking and impaired driving. They also are working on a campaign geared toward are seniors, many of whom are at risk from alcohol use. In addition, we work with retailers on responsible alcohol practices, offering resources and support where possible. They also support Check Yourself Talbot, a community coalition working to reduce binge drinking here in our community.

The Prevention Office is here to help build a healthier community, and offers a host of resources including educational workshops and a resource loan library. If you’d like information or resources on alcohol, tobacco or drug use prevention please contact Alexandra Duff, prevention coordinator, at 410-819-5600. You can also find resources and information on our Facebook page geared toward parents/caregivers – Be the Parent on the Scene.