So much has been said the past couple years about the opioid crisis that it’s easy to overlook the significance of some of what is being done in Harford County to try and stop the addiction epidemic.
One such effort was held last week at Mountain Christian Church in Abingdon, where the church and Harford County’s four Rotary Clubs – Aberdeen, Bel Air, Havre de Grace and Southern Harford – sponsored a community event to continue trying to raise awareness of the scourge.
Only about 80 people attended, Don Mathis, moderator of the event, said. That is fewer than how many have attended other such events held the past few weeks – and fewer than the 100 people who have died from opioid overdoses in the county since Jan. 1, 2015. Part of the smaller turnout is because Harford County has been doing great outreach to inform everyone about the dangers of opioids.
Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler, one of the elected officials leading the charge against illegal opioids on various fronts, said last week that the number of fatal overdoses has increased 12 percent this year compared to the same period last year. The encouraging news is that the number of nonfatal overdoses has declined by 13.2 percent. That is certainly an encouraging development.
“A gathering like this, even 10, 15 years ago would never have happened,” Jim Haggerty, CEO of Maryland Recovery, and one of the participants in last week’s event, said. “We really need to be proud of what’s happening in this community here.”
Haggerty is right about that. From the beginning, Harford County, its leaders and its people have been honest and open about the problem and tenacious about attacking it.
Too many people are still ruining their lives and dying from trying to feed their addictions, but that is only making the good people around them more resolute to try and save those already addicted while keeping those not yet addicted from becoming so.
“There is reason for hope in spite of the escalating number of overdoses and the drug crisis … and that what makes a difference is when community people come together to find a solution,” Mathis said.
Amen to that, and keep up the good fight.