For Joe Gamble, the Sheriff of Talbot County, and one of the founders of the Go Purple public awareness campaign on the Eastern Shore, which has now grown into a statewide initiative, 2020 will be the year where he and his team will be facing not one but two pandemics.
With the emergence of the coronavirus crisis beginning in March, Gamble also immediately saw the double threat of a drug pandemic that remained a public health catastrophe and an uncontained international virus. For a law enforcement professional who saw education as the primary tool to prevent fentanyl overdoses, and was making incremental progress with his team to reduce the occurrence of death and the other painful consequences of addiction, the addition of COVID-19 was a bitter reality.
Not only has COVID taken away much-needed attention to a drug pandemic that still exists, but coronavirus has also contributed to the drug problem as individuals facing unemployment, but financial stress, lack of childcare, and basic structure to their lives also seek out these dangerous drugs to fill the gap.
The Spy spoke to Sheriff Gamble last week about these competing challenges as Talbot Goes Purple starts its fourth year of school programs, film screenings, and public rallies to keep the attention on the opioid crisis while also finding new ways to raise awareness with families that this is not the time to let down their guard.
This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about Talbot for Purple events and mission please go here.