Funding going towards Worcester County School District prevention, educational efforts to tackle opioid epidemic
WORCESTER COUNTY, Md.- Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced $10 million in grant funding to expand access to treatment and community based recovery programs to tackle the opioid epidemic.
“Our hope with this funding this year is to really reach even more students than we already do,” Tamara Mills, a Coordinator of Instruction for the Worcester County School District, said.
More than $113,000 of this funding is going towards the Worcester County Public School District. “This year our campaign is going to be called “Just Say Know,” k-n-o-w, a different kind of just say no; to really educate the public to make them aware of substance abuse prevention, particularly with opioids,” Mills said.
This year is the most dollars they’ve received from Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center and they plan to use it wisely. “We’ve been kind of ramping up the substance use prevention in the schools, obviously over the last several years, but this year we are going to go in even more with the Worcester Goes Purple program,” Mills said.
One experience they’ll expand this year is their “Mega Brain.”
“It is a giant inflatable brain that students can walk through,” Mills said. “It is very interactive and what it does is it shows students the impact of drugs and alcohol on their brains and we will be able to bring that to 5 schools this year.”
The School District, as well as Worcester Goes Purple, said getting these educational experiences out there is key especially at the younger ages. “We need to get these kids and I’m talking about early education when kids are in like daycare and those types of things to get them to know what is medicine, what are things okay for you to touch, what are things not okay for you to touch,” Debbie Smullen, with Worcester Goes Purple, said.
But, that’s not their only goal. “So, it’s also about eliminating the stigma of being in recovery and helping people with addiction issues in the community,” Mills said.