Harford County is encouraging families to participate in its annual Night of Conversation on Wednesday. The occasion offers an opportunity for families to discuss substance abuse, and the deleterious effects it can have on one’s mental health, according to a news release.
Research shows eating together as a family has a number of observable health benefits including higher vocabularies and higher self esteem in children, and a greater sense of belonging for older children, said a release from the Harford County executive’s office.
While this is the sixth Night of Conversation, the event this year takes on a heightened level of importance due to the higher number of overdose deaths in Maryland in 2020.
Overdose deaths involving all drugs and alcohol rose about 18% to 2,799 in 2020 from 2,379 in 2019, according to by the Maryland Department of Health. Opioids and opioid analogs were involved in the majority of these deaths.
Cognizant that these are sensitive topics, Harford County has launched www.HarfordTalks.com, a resource that offers ideas for how to begin tough conversations and how to engage kids and teens of all ages in talks about drug and alcohol abuse.
“We set aside one night for these dinnertime conversations, then we encourage families to keep them going throughout the year,” County Executive Barry Glassman said in a news release.