On September 19, 2019, the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the September General Membership Luncheon at the Black Diamond Lodge in Fruitland, Maryland.
The featured speaker was Lori Brewster, Chief Health Officer for Wicomico County Health Department. Ms. Brewster focused her presentation on State and local statistics regarding the opioid and fentanyl epidemic. She explained the impact on the community and what is being done to address the issue. View her presentation here.
Wicomico County has recently experienced a significant decrease in opioid-related deaths, which can be attributed partly to increased awareness and the success of the Community Outreach Addictions Team (COAT) program. The Wicomico County Health Department launched COAT in partnership with the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office, Wicomico County Government, Salisbury City Government, Wicomico County Sheriff’s Department, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, and other community partners. The goal of COAT is to combat overdoses and to provide those who struggle with addiction a smooth pathway to treatment and recovery services.
“The faces of opioid epidemic are not the down-and-out drug addicts that one may imagine. They are middle class men and women with families and good jobs,” Brewster told Ms. Brewster told the audience of business leaders.
Ms. Brewster also spoke of the great community and local business support in taking a stand against opioid and addiction. Many local businesses and organizations have taken part in the Wicomico Goes Purple campaign, an awareness campaign focusing on prevention, treatment, and recovery resources available in our community.
Stephanie Willey, of Comcast Spotlight and Chairperson of Wicomico Goes Purple, shared a story of a local woman who reached out to ask for help with battling her drug addiction. The woman saw recent Wicomico Goes Purple information displayed in local businesses. “She called and asked where she could get help, and we are making sure she is getting the help she needs. THAT is what Wicomico Goes Purple is all about. This shows that the Wicomico Goes Purple campaign is having an impact locally.” Wicomico Goes Purple Campaign is funded by the support of local businesses and grants.
The event also highlighted the Wicomico County Public School’s student art exhibition entitled the “Addiction Awareness Art Competition” as a part of the community-wide effort to foster awareness and promote the risks of drug use to youth. The art competition is sponsored by the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore.
The October General Membership Luncheon will be held at Salisbury University on October 17, 2019, and will feature the Salisbury City Council Candidate Forum. For more information, visit www.salisburyarea.com.