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Harford County to present free performances of award-winning play 'Addicted'

Free performances of the award-winning play “Addicted” can be seen in Harford County beginning Thursday.

The play, written and directed by Harford County school psychologist Christle Henzel, spotlights heroin’s impact on the community. It tells the story of three young adults struggling with addiction and the devastating effect of drugs and alcohol on the users and the people around them, according to a news release from Harford County.

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It will be shown Thursday and Friday at North Harford High School in Pylesville. Another showing is planned for April 6 at Mt. Zion Church in Bel Air. Performances begin at 7 p.m.

“Addicted” has been seen by more than 5,300 people and has been used as an educational tool in high schools, colleges, churches and the recovery community, according to the news release.

In Harford County in 2018, fatal heroin and opioid overdoses were up by one to 83 from 82 in 2017, according to data provided by the Sheriff’s Office. Overall overdoses, however, were up by 30 percent to 565 in 2018.

Henzel and the cast were recognized by Gov. Larry Hogan in 2017. In 2018, Harford County’s Office of Drug and Control policy won a National Association of Counties’ Best in Category Award for using the play to help raise awareness of addiction. Also in 2018, “Addicted” was named as a resource in the national SAFE Community Public Awareness Guide.

“When I was 21 years old, my brother took his own life at the age of 19,” Henzel said in a news release. “It was completely unexpected and it devastated our family. Jason struggled with drug addiction throughout most of his life.

“When he died, I wanted to create something positive in the midst of tragedy so I wrote this play in honor of my brother. ‘Addicted’ captures the reality of drug and alcohol abuse, addiction, and the turmoil it puts everyone through.”

“Addicted” engages youth by addressing issues that directly affect them and exposing the true impact on friends and family from drug and alcohol abuse, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said in the news release.

“We are grateful for our partnership with Ms. Henzel, the North Harford High School Drama Club, Harford County Public Schools and Mt. Zion Church, which has made these performances possible,” he said.

Performances of “Addicted” are open to the public. Parental discretion is advised because of the play’s subject matter aimed at high school students and adults, which may not be appropriate for children under 13.

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