From Harford County government:
Summer messaging is underway by the Harford County Office of Drug Control policy to prevent drug abuse and deliver a powerful message: treatment works and recovery is possible.
The Glassman Administration began on June 15 airing 30-second public service announcements (PSAs) in Harford County movie theaters featuring Louis Marcell, a local resident in recovery. This emotional PSA is the latest marketing tool in the administration’s campaign to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic.
The PSA was produced in a peer-to-peer format, which is recommended by experts in the field of addiction and prevention, and by Gov. Hogan’s Heroin Task Force. In the video, Marcell, 30, describes himself as a “normal kid with a loving family” who began his opioid addiction after having a tooth pulled. He was given a prescription for pain, which ultimately flung him into a spiraling addiction to prescription medication and, ultimately, heroin. When Marcell lost his younger brother to addiction, he sought treatment with the help of his family and now lives a life free of drugs.
“I hope this PSA educates the community about treatment and recovery and helps fight stigmas that prevent individuals from seeking help. I want to encourage everyone, especially parents, to have conversations about drugs, addiction and recovery. Recovery is possible and it is wonderful,” Marcell said.
The PSA will run at the Regal Theater in Bel Air and the Horizon Theater in Fallston through September. It is estimated to be seen by more than 130,000 movie goers this summer.
Earlier this spring, Harford County unveiled a billboard campaign with another compelling awareness message: overdose is not the only way heroin kills. The billboard features Denise Hanna, mother of Joshua Hanna who was killed in a motor vehicle accident on November 5, 2011 by a driver under the influence of heroin. On the billboard Hanna holds a picture of Joshua next to a roadside memorial the family maintains on Maryland Route 22, near the site of the accident. Joshua was a 2008 graduate of Harford Technical High School and a resident of Street, Maryland.
“Joshua was a loyal son and grandson who had a smile that would light up the darkest room. He was a hard worker with a good sense of humor. He could always make you laugh,” Denise Hanna said. “Joshua did not do drugs, but his dreams will never be realized because of heroin.”
Denise Hanna was recognized by Harford County government in 2017 with a Shining Light Award for her efforts to raise awareness about addiction and advocate for positive change.
A $15,000 grant from State Farm Insurance helped cover the cost of the billboard, which is located on Pulaski Highway in Joppa.
Harford County has been recognized twice by the National Association of Counties for its innovative anti-drug awareness campaigns. Recently the Glassman administration was awarded the “Best in Category” in the Category Arts, Culture, and Historic Preservation for using the arts to expand the reach of prevention messaging.
To watch the PSA, learn about addiction and substance abuse, or seek treatment, please visit www.harfordcountymd.gov/ODCP. Resources are also available at www.samhsa.gov.
Harford County hopes to capture the attention of pre-teens to young adults with the campaign, but there is a message here for parents too.
“Summer vacation should not be a vacation from talking about the scourge of opioid abuse lurking in every zip code in Harford County and the nation,” County Executive Barry Glassman said. “Government programs can help, but nothing is more powerful than parents talking to their kids about drugs.”
Becky Z says
Lets not make generalized comments….the kids dying were born in the 1990’s when they taught or stressed the DARE program in the schools… stop blaming it on “parents not talking to their kids” Hate for parents who lost a young adult to this epidemic to have to read a comment like that. “Nothing more powerful?” Parents are not at all in control of young adults w/ an addiction.Parents can talk and talk….I disagree with this and feel very sorry for those who have lost a son or daughter too soon~ Terrible.
We The People says
Sad to say but you should blame it on Cassilly and Ryden, both who have not done their jobs. We need a strong States Attorney like Al P to take over and try stop this heroin epidemic.
I agree…..lots of blame to go around and Cassilly and Ryden are the beginning of the line
We need someone tougher on the dealers than David Ryden
Lets get someone who will stop the flow of heroin into our county. Certainly hasn’t been Cassilly or Ryden.
Wallies Friends says
We should implement more stop and frisk as well as DARE programs County wide. New leadership is needed in Harford County
True Blue says
@ Becky Z This has to be totally without a doubt the lowest, most undignified bunch of losers I have seen in a long time take this article exposing many of the numerous attempts by this county, the Police ,Courts, rehab centers, doctors, counselors and each and every parent who has tried desperately over the years to keep their children from the drugs and turn it into a political circus. you are 100% correct that parents can talk, talk talk to their children and still not be there by their side all the time. Our precious children, their friends , the parents of other victims are the ones impacted, within a second or two. Life is so cherished by the surviving family and friends and we all together as a nation should stop blaming each other and work towards a common goal to stop this epidemic. I know I fight it all the time , both in my career and as a parent.
I have posted many times on here , sometimes about political matters, but coming home to read the few above comments, make me sick to my stomach. My deepest sympathies go out to all parents who lost a child to this disease and anyone else who has lost a family member or friend. Take your political rhetoric elsewhere.
Forever Amber says
I find it extremely hard to believe that one prescription for pain after a tooth extraction caused a life-long addition problem in a teenager. First, the prescription would have been for no more than 7 days and not refillable.
I grow weary of this type of propaganda to get legal pain medication away from people who truly need it and do not abuse it and do not sell it on the street.
The real problem is “HEROIN”, and ignorance.
The most effective way to stop addiction is to prevent it in the first place. This is done through education.
Children must be taught through interactive educational programs how to handle situations where drugs will be present. Most children do not recognize the danger when first confronted with it. The situation is usually in a relaxed setting among friends. The barriers are down. The pitch is made.
Children need to learn at an early age how to handle these situations. The only way is for them to experience these “gateway” situations first hand in a controlled environment.
You can explain it to them, but you can’t understand it for them. “Doing” is the most effective way of learning.
Personally I will not touch these Opiate Pain Killers. I would rather be in pain than addicted. That’s me and my choice. I have seen way to much death and destruction as a result of this issue.
We The People says
Anonymous, You are the pain here.
I understand your skepticism, especially since you use pain medication, but drugs affect different people different ways and some people are more prone to addiction than others. When people are young their bodies aren’t as tolerant and drugs hit them way harder. The old saying is “you can never get as high as your first time” and this is apparent in younger people more than those of us who are “experienced”. I myself stay away from opiates as much as possible because when I broke my ankle and was given a 10 day supply of Oxy Condone, I found myself wanting it when I was out. I also had a problem with cocaine when I was 16-17, so I could recognize the crave for what it was and I told my doctor NOT to give me any more. When people are in pain and need opiates to give them a better quality of life, the positives outweigh the negatives and people like this should use the medication for relief. Separate programs for handling people with chronic pain exist and to the detriment of those who need the pills, some are seriously abusing the situation and are making a very healthy living from the sales of the pills. It’s a catch 22 problem that will be hard to fix, but when a doctor prescribes 120 pills of OxyContin in 30mg form and then gives the same person 90 pills of Percocet in 10mg form in the same month, even after the recent cutbacks on issuing opioids, the potential for sale of some or all of the pills still remains. I can’t imagine taking 4 30mg OxyContin everyday and hope I never have to. Some people would rather have the money. They are used to the pain and they aren’t going to stop selling them.