Fed Up! Rally for Overdose Awareness Day

Caroline County Department of Corrections Superintendent Ruth A. Colbourne gets vocal at the 2017 Fed Up! Rally for Overdose Awareness Day in Denton.

DENTON — Caroline County is going purple in September, with a month of community events to promote education and awareness of the opioid abuse epidemic, encouraging those affected to seek help and those who are not addicted to prevent it.

Led by Drug-Free Caroline in partnership with the Caroline County commissioners and the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, “Caroline Goes Purple” will use September — National Recovery Month — to focus attention on the issue.

“The crisis is real — and it’s here,” said Caroline County Sheriff Randy Bounds in a news release. “This epidemic is like nothing I’ve seen in my law enforcement career. This drug does not discriminate and families from all walks of life are being hit hard.”

Bounds said prevention is the long-term key to beating the epidemic.

“That’s why Caroline Goes Purple is so important,” he said.

Heroin overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death for people under 50, killing more each year than car accidents and homicides combined.

Four out of five heroin users started with recreational use of prescription painkillers. Seventy-five percent of teens say they can easily get prescription painkillers from a family member’s medicine cabinet. And in Caroline County, 5 percent of high school students report they have tried heroin.

Caroline Goes Purple kicks off with the Fed-Up Rally, at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, at Denton Elementary School on Sharp Road.

The rally is to let local representatives know the community needs their help. The kid-friendly event will feature games, face painting, a moon bounce, a walk/run, access to many resources and live music courtesy of Echoes of Mercy.

The Town of Greensboro is holding “Greensboro Goes Purple,” 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at Ober Park.

Two free screenings of the film “If Only,” chronicling a teen’s pathway to addiction, are being offered.

The first will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, at North Caroline High School. The second will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, at Colonel Richardson High School.

The screenings will be led by the film’s producer, James Wahlberg, executive director of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, and will include a talk by a local parent who lost a child to addiction, and the opportunity to ask questions.

The screenings will be followed by a free ice cream social, so families can continue the conversation about preventing substance abuse. There will also be a resource fair with more information on prevention and treatment and Narcan training, and a free raffle drawing at each screening, featuring prizes like an Apple Watch, Nintendo Switch, Kindle Fire 10 tablet and Visa and other gift cards.

Besides attending these events, residents are encouraged to “go purple” by lighting their homes purple, and thinking of creative ways their workplace or business can show support and raise awareness. Purple bulbs will be for sale at Caroline Summerfest, Friday, Aug. 17, and Saturday, Aug. 18, in downtown Denton.

People can also share educational messages on social media, have a conversation with family about prescription drugs, lock up prescription drugs and safely dispose of those not being used, and get trained on Narcan and carry it — it could save a life.

For more information on Caroline Goes Purple, please contact Jennifer Farina at purple@drugfreecaroline.org or 410-479-0660.

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