SALISBURY, Md. - United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore, in partnership with the Wicomico County State's Attorney Office and Wicomico County Sheriff's Office, held the 2nd Annual Lower Shore Addiction Awareness Visual Arts Competition Friday evening on the plaza in downtown Salisbury.
The goal of the show: to help young people visualize the road opioid abuse can lead to.
Krystal Colon is a sophomore at Mardela High School and says she has friends who have found their way into drugs.
"It makes me feel really bad for them, and they should really get help for it."
Her friends were one of the reasons she submitted her artwork into the Lower Shore Addiction Awareness Art Show.
The contest featured dozens of entrees from high schoolers in Wicomico, Worcester, Dorchester and Somerset counties, with middle schoolers in Wicomico entering as well.
Olivia Momme with United Way says she thinks the message of what harm drugs can do is not reaching kids like it has in the past.
"Because they see it in school, they see it from their friends family, it's something that's prevalent everywhere. So they're learning about it at a much earlier age, we wanted to be able to start the conversation with them at a young age to hopefully prevent even just one child from being one of the statistics... So many times, kids are prescribes opioids for a sports injury, or something like that, and all it takes is just using it for a little while and then they quickly become addicted, can't get it anymore, and it turns into a heroin problem because it is so much cheaper to get heroin than to get prescription pills."
The Wicomico County Sheriff's Office awarded $10,000 in cash prizes generated from seized drug money, saying, "it's a great use of ill-gotten booty."
Also at the event was the Resource Recovery Center, formerly known as the Salisbury Substance Abuse Center.
United Way invited the RRC to set up shop at the event to get their message out about their work with drug and alcohol abuse. The self-proclaimed hub of the recovery community in Salisbury offers over forty 12-step recovery meetings weekly, while providing literature and lifelong support.
Hollie Seaton, a member of the Center's board, says this is an important event for their target audience.
"This is a targeted audience for us. Parents, students, this art contest, wonderful artwork posted here. It's a very dark subject but still wonderful artwork. So the students, the parents, those are a very targeted audience for the Resource Recovery Center."
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