From the Harford County Health Department:
Local events taking place throughout the month of September are getting the community actively involved while drawing attention to National Recovery Month.
National Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Now in its 25th year, Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance use disorders. This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out,” encourages open communication about mental and substance use disorders and the reality of recovery.
Nearly two thirds of American families are touched by addiction, which costs the American economy an estimated 550 billion dollars annually.
Last Saturday, September 6, 2014, the Harford County Health Department Division of Behavioral Health commemorated this national public health observance through its sponsorship of a “Run 4 Recovery” 5k race event and “Fun Walk” held at the MA & PA Heritage Trail in Bel Air. 112 participated and proceeds of more than a thousand dollars were donated to Addiction Connection Resources (ACR) to assist recovering individuals by connecting them with services that facilitate recovery and promote productive, healthy life styles.
“The overarching goal of the 5K,” says Beth Jones, Director of the Health Department’s Behavioral Health Services Division, “was to raise awareness that addictions is a disorder that can be successfully treated, and to bring attention and facilitate access to services for those locally suffering from addictions.” Ms. Jones adds, “Not only was the event a great opportunity to generate some additional financial support for local community based recovery support agencies but, more importantly, our purpose was to spread the positive message that recovery is happening right here in Harford County. Behavioral health is essential to overall health. Prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.”
Afterward, beginning at 4:30pm at Shamrock Park in Bel Air, the Albert P. Close Foundation sponsored “Shining a Light on Recovery”, an evening of family-centered activities punctuated by the showing of The Anonymous People, a feature documentary film about the over 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Hundreds showed up to watch the film that preceded a candlelight vigil at 7:30pm. According to a Close Foundation announcement of the event, Harford lost four young people to drug overdoses during one week in March, 2014, alone.
On Tuesday, September 9th, the Sheriff’s Office Community Policing Unit held its regularly scheduled Take Back Tuesday at the Darlington Fire House. In partnership with a local volunteer fire company on one Tuesday of each month, that program makes it easier for residents to drop off old or unused medications and at the same time discuss any community problems or issues with deputies. In addition, the Harford County Office of Drug Control Policy (HC ODCP) in collaboration with area law enforcement agencies, is sponsoring a Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, September 27th at three county venues, including 220 S. Main Street in Bel Air, the Havre de Grace Police Station and and Maryland State Police Barack at 1401 Bel Air Road in Bel Air
Other activities are scheduled throughout the remainder of Recovery Month. “Caitlin’s Games” softball tournament is being held on Saturday, September 13th at Kelly Fields on Boulton Street in Bel Air to raise money and promote youth drug awareness in Harford County. Also the HC ODCP is sponsoring the “Human Rope to Stop the Dope” event in front of the Harford County Administration Building located at 220 South Main Street in Bel Air on Saturday, September 27th from 10:00 – 11:00am to memorialize those who have lost their lives to drug addiction and to “link together” to combat substance abuse and addictions in Harford County
Harford County Public Libraries also are partnering with the Health Department and other community agencies by making behavioral health resource materials available at their many locations throughout the county during September.
As a result of House Bill 1282 that becomes law in October of 2014, Harford County Health Officer Susan Kelly states that the Harford County Health Department, In collaboration with community partners, soon will initiate a county Local Overdose Fatality Review Team. In response to the steady increase of drug overdose fatalities in Harford, the primary objective of the LOFRT will be to prevent future deaths by: promoting cooperation and coordination among agencies involved in investigations of drug overdose deaths or in providing services to surviving family members; developing an understanding of the causes and incidence of drug overdose deaths in the county, through the investigation of drug fatalities, in accordance with national standards; developing plans for and recommending changes within the agencies represented on the local team to prevent drug overdose deaths; and advising the Department on changes to law, policy, or practice, including the use of devices that are programmed to dispense medications on a schedule or similar technology, to prevent drug overdose deaths.
Harford County Health Department’s Division of Behavioral Health provides a comprehensive array of clinical co-occurring treatment services for people with addiction and their families, including comprehensive assessments, individual/group and family counseling, referrals for detoxification and inpatient treatment, specialty programming (jail-based services, drug court) and medication management (e.g. Methadone, Suboxone, and psychotropic). In addition, the Division provides a life-saving Overdose Response Program that includes a Naloxone Training and Certification that enables certificate holders to access prescription Naloxone, as well as to carry (possess) and administer the prescription in event of an opioid overdose emergency.
For more information about National Recovery Month, activities or available behavioral health services in Harford County, visit the Harford County Health Department website at www.harfordcountyhealth.com, call 410-877-2340, or visit the SAMHSA website at www.recoverymonth.gov.