Harford County, MD and Addiction Connections Resource, Inc. have teamed up to host an event that will allow community members to learn more about opioid addiction from one of the world’s leading experts. On Thursday, September 14, the former US surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, will be speaking at Bel Air High School in Harford County, MD from 6-7:30 PM. The event, “Facing Addiction in Harford County: A Conversation with the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy” will be a panel discussion and a Q&A on heroin and opioid addiction. Parents are encouraged to bring children that are in middle school or older to the event, so that they can also become educated on the dangers of opioid addiction. Questions can be submitted ahead of time to odcp@harfordcountymd.gov. In addition to the former surgeon general, attendees will hear from Lieutenant governor Boyd Rutherford, as well as several other county executives and representatives. When Dr. Murthy was the surgeon general, he released a report, similar to previous surgeon general reports on tobacco, entitled ““Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health.” The report aimed to shed light on the truth about the addiction as a disease (not a weakness), and emphasize the need for both prevention and treatment.

The event comes at a perfect time for Harford County. Not only is September National Recovery Month, as sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), but as of September 4th, Harford County has seen 314 heroin-related overdoses, 61 of which were fatal. Totals for last year were 289 overdoses with 55 fatalities, so this year has already demonstrated an opioid crisis that shows no signs of slowing down. This event is a positive step in attempting to educate the next generation on the dangers of addiction, and to hopefully prevent them from falling into a trap that could end up taking their life. Information provided will cover synthetic opioids and fentanyl, what makes opioids addictive, and efforts on behalf of local, state, and federal agencies to fight back against the epidemic. Parents will also learn about warning signs of addiction, and where to go for help should the need arise.

Prior to the event, beginning at 5PM people will be able to tour the Sheriff’s HOPE trailer, which is set up like a mock bedroom and highlights places to look for drugs. The Office of Drug Control Policy will also host the Human Rope to Stop the Dope from 5-5:55PM, where individuals link arms (forming a “rope”) to raise addiction awareness.

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