January 19, 2019

Opioid Learning Series Continues in March

Public Safety

Several local organizations are working together to present a six-part series of events focusing on the opioid epidemic. Known as the Opioid Learning Series, sponsors for the series include the St. Mary’s County Health Department, St. Mary’s County Library, Walden Behavioral Health, MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, and others.

Events will be held every other Thursday from 6 to 7:30 pm at the Lexington Park Library, starting Jan. 11, 2018. All of the dates are Jan. 11 and 25, Feb. 8 and 22, and March 8 and 22. Special teen sessions also will be offered Feb. 8 and March 22.

Registration, by clicking on the date, is suggested for these events.

January 11

The first event, on Jan. 11, will be the kickoff for the series.

The first of the Opioid Learning Series and a kickoff event. Participants will see the documentary created by the FBI and DEA called “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict.” The documentary explores the dangers of addiction. The screening will be followed by a guided discussion on the opioid epidemic.

January 25

The second part of the series will focus on the opioid epidemic in St. Mary’s County. Dr. Meenakshi G. Brewster, MPH, FAAFP, St. Mary’s County health officer, will share local data, and discuss prevention and response efforts.

February 8

Prevention and recognition will be the topic of the third part of the series. Participants will learn about detecting the signs of addiction. There also will be a special session for teens on the same topic, helping them learn about recognizing when a friend is in trouble and what to do.

February 22

Stigma is the topic of the fourth session. Participants will learn what it is, as well as how it impacts access and use of services and treatment.

March 8

Treatment is the topic of the fifth session. Speakers will provide an overview of different levels and types of treatment available for substance abuse disorders and will share information on how to access these services in St. Mary’s County.

March 22

The final session will include a brief overview of the entire series, then information for community members on recognizing and responding to an opioid overdose. Participants will learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose, the importance of calling 9-1-1, and how to administer naloxone and care for someone until emergency help arrives. Participants will receive a free rescue kit that includes naloxone (Narcan), a life-saving medicine that can restore the breathing of a person who has overdosed on heroin, fentanyl, or a prescription opioid drug like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, or methadone.

This session also will include a teen component, at which teens will learn about peer intervention strategies, how and when to seek help, what to do if they see an overdose, and more.

For more information and one-click access to a full list of resources available at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, visit their Leader Page.

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