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Harford's second 'Night of Conversation' on drug and alcohol awareness is Nov. 15

The Aegis

Harford County's second Night of Conversation, which promotes family discussions about drug and alcohol abuse, will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 15.

During the Night of Conversation, parents and caregivers are encouraged to have dinner with their families and talk with their children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

Intended for families with children in pre-school through high school, the Night of Conversation is sponsored by Harford County government in partnership with Harford County Public Schools, libraries, Sheriff’s Office, Health Department and participating restaurants, grocery stores, and physicians.

The first Night of Conversation was organized in November 2016 and had positive results, organizers said.

In Harford County, deaths related to use of heroin and other opioids have climbed annually the past four years and exceed 75 thus far in 2017, according to overdose statistics kept by the Sheriff’s Office.

As with last year, to aid the family discussions, “conversation cards,” created by the Harford County Office of Drug Control Policy and distributed throughout the community, offer tips for parents including age-appropriate conversation starters.

Parents are also encouraged to help their kids practice refusal skills and plan how to escape peer-pressure situations, according to a news release from Harford County government.

Participants in the Night of Conversation can take a short survey about their experiences and enter to win a $250 Visa gift card. Participants can also share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #HarfordTalks.

“Harford County’s Night of Conversation is growing with new and returning partners in a countywide effort to prevent the tragedy of addiction,” County Executive Barry Glassman said in a statement. “Together we are supporting these important family conversations because no government program is as powerful as parents talking to their children.”

Harford County Public Schools has been distributing a magnetized version of the conversation cards, ideal for posting on the family refrigerator. School officials are also encouraging parents and caregivers to provide their feedback through the survey.

“We begin speaking with students in pre-kindergarten about making good choices and safe decisions,” HCPS Superintendent Barbara Canavan said in a statement. “As students enter middle and high school, the decisions become more difficult. It is crucial that these dialogues take place not only in the schools, but also at home. These discussions are key to ensuring that from a very young age, our students know that the adults around them care and will listen. Their lives depend on it.”

Klein’s ShopRite and several restaurants, including Buontempo Brothers, Enotria, Fox & Fern, La Tolteca of Churchville and Aberdeen, Mountain Branch Grille & Pub, Pairing’s Bistro, Primavera Italian Restaurant, Riverside Pub & Grille, and Sunny Day Cafe, have begun distributing close to 50,000 conversation cards to promote the Night of Conversation to patrons.

The Harford County Office of Drug Control Policy will also hold presentations and large group discussions from 5 – 7 p.m. on Nov. 15 for members of the Boys and Girls Clubs at all four Harford County locations in Aberdeen, Bel Air, Edgewood and Havre de Grace.

The group discussions were also held during the first Night of Conversation last year, during which nearly 60 members of the Edgewood Boys & Girls Club participated at their club.

For a complete list of participating community partners that are distributing conversation cards; for links to the conversation starters and the survey, or to learn more about the Night of Conversation, visit www.harfordcountymd.gov/nightofconversation or contact the Harford County Office of Drug Control Policy at 410-638-3333.

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