xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Resident concerned about lasting impact of planned Harford County development; harm reduction important | READER COMMENTARY

Opposing Perryman development

“If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that can’t be erased.”

Maya Angelou’s words are timely as the Perryman community struggles with the proposed development of the Mitchell fields along Canninghouse Road.

Advertisement

These fields are a habitat for eagles, coyotes, foxes and countless other creatures. We mark the seasons by the growth of crops and marvel as fireflies light our way home. Now, the owners and developers are proposing to build five warehouses on these fields.

Is this the kind of environmental legacy we want to leave?

Advertisement
Advertisement

The impact on plants, animals and the Bush River will be devastating. Semi-truck traffic will increase exponentially and the safety of our community as we travel will be in jeopardy. The historic community of Perryman will be surrounded by concrete, roads, noise and light pollution. That’s quite a legacy for the owners of these fields and the developers they have partnered with to leave behind.

While I recognize the owners’ right to sell, and the developer’s right to create plans, I call on them to consider this as an opportunity to create a more positive legacy that the Perryman community will celebrate for generations.

Perhaps we could make provisions for open space, public park amenities, walking trails, water access for boaters, etc. We could create popular community centered places like Anita C. Leight and Merriweather Post have. Their positive impact on the lives of Maryland citizens cannot be measured.

I call on the leaders of this project to make a positive mark on this world that can’t be erased.

Advertisement

Let’s be remembered as people who worked together and thought creatively to preserve land on the Perryman Peninsula for generations to enjoy.

Because it is the right thing to do, and a wonderful legacy to leave behind.

Shelley Mezan, Perryman

Harm reduction important

Thank you for Pamela Wood’s unvarnished reporting on harm reduction (“' We can’t continue on the same path,’” Dec. 1). It’s understandable that some policymakers believe that it doesn’t make sense to provide syringes and other supplies to people who use dangerous drugs like heroin, fentanyl, crystal meth, and other substances. I used to believe that too.

Two reasons — one from my experiences in working at Voices of Hope in Elkton, the other from my careful review of evidence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — have educated me on the day-to-day realities and trauma of people with the disease of substance use disorder. An evolution of my thinking started with the understanding that substance use disorder (drug addiction) is, in fact, a disease.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines drug addiction as “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain — they change its structure and how it works.” I learned that substance use disorder is not the result of poor morals or character weakness but is a diagnosable disease.

This fact shifts our public policy, law enforcement and health care emphases from incarceration to treatment options. These include medications and harm reduction strategies. Simply stated, harm reduction refers to a set of principles and evidence-based practices that reduce the risk and minimize the negative effects of drug use.

As a peer recovery specialist at Voices of Hope in Cecil County, one of the 16 certified syringe service programs in Maryland, I have the privilege of using harm reduction strategies to help people who want and need help. Uninformed critics may see this as coddling addicts or promoting addiction. I see it as helping people stay alive so that Voices of Hope can help them adopt safer behaviors and healthier lifestyles.

The evidence and program evaluations that syringe service programs are effective is strong. People who regularly participate in these programs are five times more likely to enter treatment for a substance use disorder and nearly three times as likely to report reducing or stopping their injection drug use.

The CDC also reports that syringe service programs reduce the incidence of HIV, hepatitis C and do not increase drug use or crime.

Harm reduction services are a pathway to recovery. When people ask my co-workers and me for syringe service programs supplies, we know that we are helping them to live another day. Where there is life, there is hope.

Don Mathis, Havre de Grace

The writer is a peer recovery specialist with Voices of Hope

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement