Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church is set to host its fourth community forum on the subject of addiction Oct. 7.
The free event will begin at 7 p.m. and will feature the TIPS program of the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office, which pairs speakers — including State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo — with video presentations and a mock teen bedroom where parents can learn common places for hiding drugs.
“We’re already having our youth program Sunday night, and the TIPS program is not for for kids, it’s for parents,” said Sharon Feldman, director of community life at the Eldersburg church. “We’re hoping that the parents will come into the community life center and go through the TIPS program.”
The church hosted its first community forum in January after a rash of fatal overdoses in Carroll County, and it and the two subsequent meetings were well-attended, including a meeting that offered training in the use of the opioid drug antidote naloxone, or Narcan, according to Feldman.
“They have been well-received the entire year. We’ve had panel discussions, Narcan training and now the TIPS program,” she said. “The Narcan training was a little more focused. I would say she probably handed out well over 15 cases.”
The meeting on Oct. 7 will be suitable for parents of any children, but particularly those of children in middle and high school, Feldman said.
“There just seems to be a stigma around drug usage, but then there is this avoidance of parents to talk about it because it’s not going to happen in their household,” she said. “It’s just so parents are informed that drug usage cuts across all economic, social statuses.”
This fourth forum will be the last the church hosts in 2018, but Feldman said there are plans to try something similar next year.
“We want to continue the discussion and continue to make space in our community so we can have these discussions around addiction,” she said. “Addiction can be looped into mental health, so we may do seminars or other things.”