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With counterfeit drugs, one pill can kill; The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region seeks workers | READER COMMENTARY

With counterfeit drugs, one pill can kill

Harford County State’s Attorney Al Peisinger and Harford County Circuit Court Judge Diane Atkins-Tobin again have earned the respect and gratitude of Harford residents for their successful prosecution and five-year sentencing of a 20-year-old man for, in part, his possession with intent to distribute the opioid oxycodone pills.

This case is especially noteworthy given the recent federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s Public Safety Alert on the sharp increase in fake prescription pills like oxycodone. These counterfeit pills contain lethal amounts of fentanyl, an opioid that is 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin.

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Legitimate prescription medications such as oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), alprazolam (Xanax), and amphetamines (Adderall) are being illegally produced in “pill mills,” hidden sites that stamp out pills that look exactly like the genuine medications legally distributed by doctors and pharmacists.

How serious is the threat of these counterfeit pills? Deadly serious. The DEA seized more than 9.5 million fake pills so far this year. Two out of every four of these pills contained enough fentanyl to cause a fatal overdose. The deceptive wickedness of this new burst of the opioid crisis is best captured in the DEA’s public awareness campaign, “One Pill Can Kill.”

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I work as a peer recovery specialist with Voices of Hope and serve on the board of Addiction Connections Resource. I see and hear about the tragic effects of these counterfeit pills. To people with substance use disorder (drug addiction), our message must be blunt and widespread. “Buyers beware!”

Don Mathis, Havre de Grace

Work that can change you life

While many industries are struggling to hire qualified workers, The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region can offer job candidates an intangible benefit: job satisfaction that comes with helping other human beings while making this world a better place. Right now, The Arc NCR, which works to empower people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, has more than 100 job openings for candidates who want to work at a job that offers that life-changing experience.

For example, Katelynn Selchert started as a job coach with The Arc NCR. She has moved her way up the career ladder and is now a case manager. One of the clients she has helped is named David. David learned enough job skills to help him land employment at a Harford County company. Selchert explains, “I love my job because I get to help people achieve goals they didn’t know they were capable of achieving. It’s exhilarating to know how much of a difference we can make in the lives of others.”

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Right now, The Arc NCR has job openings in the Harford, Cecil County region. The Arc NCR is offering a $600 signing bonus. We also offer $6,000 a year in educational and financial growth through the DSP certification program. It’s an excellent opportunity for college students. Jobs are also full or part-time with flexible schedules.

Most employers cannot offer the intangible benefits that we provide at The Arc NCR.

As a result, our employees have the satisfaction of knowing they are truly making a difference in our own community.

Shawn Kros

The author is the chief executive officer of The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region

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