CENTREVILLE — Even with the COVID-19 Pandemic at the forefront of citizen health worries, members of the Queen Anne’s County Drug Free Coalition remain concerned about opioid overdoses that have reached 47 as of Aug.1 this year in Queen Anne’s County. If overdoses continue in the county at this same rate, the projection by year’s end is 80 overdoses and potentially 12 deaths caused by overdoses. In Queen Anne’s County, the majority of overdose deaths have been due to Fentanyl use. The risk of death due to opioid use is much greater because of the increasing availability and potency of fentanyl. It only takes a few granules of Fentanyl to kill.
For families who have members with a history of opioid use disorder/ addiction, the Coalition advises that it is wise to keep Narcan on hand and to become trained in how to administer Narcan. The Queen Anne’s County Health Department and Addictions Services have free Narcan available and associated training, which is also provided at no cost. Another available opioid counter-active drug is Vivitrol. Provided by a doctor’s prescription, Vivitrol is widely available to block the desire for opioids among those with opioid use disorder. Free Peer Recovery Programs are active in Queen Anne’s County to help those with opioid use disorder. Program staff may be reached by calling the Health department at 410-758-1306.
To raise opioid awareness, the Drug Free Queen Anne’s Coalition has launched the 2020 purple campaign for the month of September. Purple banners have been erected throughout the county with help from local Boy Scout Troop 464. Various businesses and county agencies are showing their support with purple lighting and awareness messages. Coalition Co-Chairs Kathy and Warren Wright would like to remind citizens to pick up purple bulbs at Ace Hardware in Centreville and Chestertown or the Queen Anne’s County Chamber of Commerce and display your purple porch light.
Over prescribing of opioids remains a deadly threat in the U.S. Pharmaceutical companies continue to market opioids and some physicians continue to over prescribe, although the Center for Disease Control is advocating for lower dosages, less potency, and less pills in each prescription. Except in cases of extreme pain due to cancer, major injuries, or post surgeries, patients should avoid using opioids and choose alternative pain relief options.