The drama production "Addicted," which shows the devastating impact drug and alcohol abuse has on an addict and the people around them, will begin its fourth annual run at North Harford High School later this week.
North Harford High psychologist Christle Henzel wrote and directs the play, which is performed by NHHS drama students and alumni.
This year's four-show run includes two shows at North Harford Thursday and Friday, both at 7 p.m. followed by performances at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in Bel Air on March 24 and 25, also at 7 p.m. Admission is free at all shows.
The county's Office of Drug Control Policy is working with Henzel to promote the play and make it a county-wide event. That partnership started last year.
"It's just another one of our many efforts related to the heroin epidemic and opioid addiction...this is a homegrown performance that we hope will underscore our prevention messaging," county government spokesperson Cindy Mumby said Friday.
The cast members play three young people who struggle with addiction to different substances, plus their friends and relatives who must suffer and watch the addicts destroy themselves.
Each character, addict or relative, delivers a monologue about how addiction affects him or her.
Like the rest of Maryland, Harford County is in the throes of a deadly opioid abuse epidemic that has claimed nearly 100 lives in the county since the beginning of 2014. Several hundred non-fatal overdoses from heroin or other opioid compounds have been investigated by police.
Mumby noted the North Harford High play is "a very real-world reflection of that impact" on people around the addict.
She described the play as "young people in the performance speaking to young people" in the audience.
The play includes mature subject matter, so parental discretion is advised for children 13 and younger.
"It's pretty hard hitting," Mumby said. "We do suggest parental discretion for kids 13 and under."