Talbot County Officials Fight Against Growing Drug Problem - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Talbot County Officials Fight Against Growing Drug Problem

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TALBOT CO., Md – It has been nearly two months since the death of Sam Cross, but the pain of his loss is still very raw for folks in Easton. The investigation is ongoing, but authorities determined the 18-year-old Easton teen was strangled after a night out with friends, where the use of LSD, a powerful hallucinogenic drug, was apparently a factor. Cross' tragic death is one of the many reasons parents are now teaming up with local agencies -- to address the drug issue in Talbot County.

"Sam cross just happened to be one of a number of such tragedies that we've had in the county," says Greg Pearce, executive director for Talbot Partnership for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention. "Those tragedies have certainly led to more awareness, more interest, more concern about what's going on here."

The existing Talbot Parent Coalition partnered with the health department, the Talbot Partnership, state police, and others on Wednesday night, to educate parents and answer questions. The meeting was held at Easton Middle School at 5:30 PM. In addition, just a few weeks ago, the Talbot Partnership and the health department held an open town hall meeting for parents.

"Parents are looking for more information and more that they can do," says Pearce. "We're trying to address that need."

The Parent Coalition was started by a committee of Talbot Partnership about a year ago, and has reportedly grown immensely. Mary Kramer, chair of the coalition, says they have three types of parents they try to address.

"Parents who are in the prevention mode, parents with teens who are experimenting, and parents who are fearful of possible addiction."

Pearce says that studies have shown the drug issue in Talbot County is because alcohol and drugs are too easily available in the community, the community accepts substance abuse as a part of its norm, and interventions come too late. The rate of heroine reports have increased from five to ten percent in the county just over the past year, and Pearce says while this is a huge problem, they still need to talk about alcohol and marijuana use as well.

"Youth and adults generally don't start their substance abuse issues with heroine, it's a gradual process."

Pearce notes that there is more wine per capita in Talbot County than any other county in Maryland, and while the concern is the county's children, Pearce says they may not be the root of the problem.

"We have a problem with the youth of our community because we have a problem with the adults of our community. In other words, the youth of our community basically emulate the behaviors of our adults."

To continue fighting this issue, Maryland State Police say they are trying to coherently work with federal, state, and local jurisdictions to combat the issue, and to educate parents on what the drugs look like, including the packaging, and different smoking devices. The parent coalition plans to hold meetings at least once a month, and they hope to bring in as many community leaders as possible. Kramer says they are also in the works of training with the Drug Free Community so they can go out and make presentations that are geared to different age groups.

""I do feel that the community has a voice and they have questions. At least they feel like they're being heard which is important, and that the issue is trying to be addressed."

To learn more about the coalition, or to see how you can help, visit their website or Facebook page.

The suspect in the murder investigation of Sam Cross, Matthew Mikowski, 17, is set to appear in court on September 10th. He is now wearing an ankle brace, and cannot leave his mother's home. Mikowski is being charged as an adult and faces serious charges, including second-degree murder.


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