Collaborators on overdose prevention go door to door to bring treatment, information

Four members of the Overdose Response Team spent Saturday morning knocking on doors in Hampstead in an effort to encourage people to get treatment for addiction.

The team was led by Tim Weber, the drug prevention and treatment liaison for the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office. The initiative was put on through a collaborative effort among Hampstead police officers and other law enforcement, as well as the State's Attorney's Office, Rising Above Addiction and local treatment centers.


After a briefing at the Hampstead town hall, the members of the Overdose Response Team and State's Attorney's Office set out for what they had identified as an area in Hampstead that has had many overdoses. The goal was to bring people in who were ready for treatment and hand out information to anyone who wasn't.

Deaths due to heroin and opioid drug poisoning continue to rise throughout most of Maryland, but Carroll County is one of the few counties to show a slight decline in such deaths during the first six months of 2016.

There were two evaluators at the town hall who could provide evaluations for anyone who needed treatment in order to be able to get the person into treatment Saturday. The founders of Rising Above Addiction, Tammy Lofink and Tracey Kuhns, were also there to be able to provide funds for treatment for anyone who couldn't afford it. Rising Above Addiction is a nonprofit that raises awareness about opioid addictions and funds for treatment.


The group returned to the town hall at 10:30 a.m. They had knocked on many doors and given out information, though one had taken them up on their offer to receive treatment.

But for the people inside the town hall, Saturday was still a success.

Before the group returned, Lisa Weinstein, director of Shoemaker Center in Sykesville and Maryland Treatment Centers, said that getting one person would be a success, but even if they did not bring anyone in, getting the information out was important.

Compared to past reports covering deaths in January to June, Carroll County saw an overall decrease in intoxication related deaths.

And even if people didn't come in Saturday, they now had information to get treatment and could come in a day, a week, a month or at any point later, she said.

For Weber, it was a success because the Overdose Response Team, which is made up of former addicts, was able to talk to people.

"I think it was a huge success that people didn't slam their doors," he said during a debrief.

The team was able to have conversations with people, whether it was at their houses or as they tried to leave the complex, Weber said during the debrief.

They were also able to leave packets of information, including Stamp Out cards, which include information on contacting the Overdose Response Team, and a flier about a Naloxone/Narcan training session on Oct. 5. During the training, participants will learn how to administer Naloxone or Narcan, two drugs that can block the effects of opioids in the brain.

The program, "From Pills to Street Drugs, the Heroin Epidemic," held in the Reagan room at the Carroll County Office Building, was attended by members of local law enforcement, the State's Attorney's Office, Carroll Hospital Center and the county's health department, in addition to community members. The room was packed with people lining two walls, and at one point was so full that people were still standing in the room's two doorways.

"There's not a doubt in my mind that we're going to get a call, get something out of this," he said to the group at the town hall.

Weber said he is already planning for a similar effort in another area of the county. The different members of the group talked about ways they could improve their efforts next time. Weber said that the rainy weather might have also prevented people from coming out of their houses to have a longer conversation.

The concept of going to the people's residences was meant so that the State's Attorney's Office and the Overdose Response Team could take a proactive step instead of reacting when someone overdoses, Senior Assistant State's Attorney Cara Frieman said.

The lawsuit alleges that the drug makers shifted customers to a new form of the drug to block generic competitors.

State's Attorney Brian DeLeonardo said that it was exciting to see the effort come to fruition, adding that he hopes it helps save people from potential overdoses or committing a crime.


"It's pretty amazing the energy that was put into these people at this location," he said.

If you go:

What: Naloxone/Narcan training

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5

Where: Hampstead Town Hall, 1034 South Carroll St., Hampstead.

Cost: Free; registering beforehand is welcomed but not required.

For more information: Contact Tim Weber at 443-547-5166.

Class will run for 30 minutes.

To donate

Visit www.risingaboveaddiction.com or send a check to Rising Above Addiction, Community Foundation of Carroll County, 255 Clifton Boulevard, Suite 313, Westminster, MD 21157.



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