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Annual program to discuss county drug trends

Drug trends are ever-changing.
And Carroll County Health Department officials are consistently noting the newest drug of choice. But they want to ensure parents stay up to date on the drugs their children or their children's classmates could be using.
That's why they're hosting an annual Substance Abuse Awareness Program where the latest Carroll drug statistics and emerging trends will be discussed, a program that's been around for more than 20 years, according to Linda Auerback, health department substance abuse prevention supervisor.
"We do so many programs for agencies and for schools," she said. "We just want to make sure that we have something that the whole community can come to and have the same information that we get so it's not just coming from my office."
The program will begin Tuesday at 6 p.m., with refreshments and informational booths 30 minutes prior, and the event is sponsored by the Carroll County Board of Commissioners and hosted by the health department. The free event, titled Emerging Trends: Prescription, Heroin and Synthetic Drugs, will be held at the Carroll Arts Center and is open to the public.
Susan Doyle, director of the health department's Bureau of Prevention, Wellness and Recovery, will provide county updates on statistics and what the county is doing to combat any trends, Auerback said. For example, the health department started a state-mandated Opiate Overdose Prevention Plan.
Then, an underage drinking video filmed in the county will be shown. During the summer, members of local improvisational acting troupe FoolProof collaborated with four Bowie State University students to film a short video about the consequences of parents hosting parties where alcohol and minors are involved.
The national Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration tasked each state with creating a short film to put on its site and to use as educational material. A team of prevention coordinators, one of whom was Auerback, was recruited, and the film was shot locally.
This will be the video's premiere, Auerback said, and many of the FoolProof actors will be in attendance at the event. FoolProof is an acting group composed of Carroll teenagers who sign a pledge to abstain from drugs, tobacco or alcohol.
"Everybody's all excited to see it," said FoolProof director Paul Zimmermann, "because they haven't seen what's happened with it since they were in it."
Afterward, the audience will turn into a focus group, answering two questions about the effectiveness of the video, Auerback said.
Lastly, it'll be time for the guest speaker Ken Dickinson to take the podium. Dickinson is a registered pharmacist who is a lecturer about addiction and behavioral health. He's a trainer for the Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions and the Northeast Addiction Technology Transfer Center.
He's catered his presentation to the county, Auerback said, and will be discussing prescription drugs, heroin and synthetic drugs.
In particular, synthetic drugs are tricky because they're marketed toward younger kids, Doyle said, with pictures such as the Mad Hatter or Scooby Doo on the label. They have previously been found for sale at local gas stations, Doyle said.
In addition, Dickinson will talk to local health-care providers earlier that day at Carroll Hospital Center in a lecture titled Emerging Trends: Prescription, Heroin and Synthetic Drugs Targeting: Physicians. He'll discuss the practice of prescribing prescriptions, Auerback said.

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