LEONARDTOWN, MD – In an effort to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic overtaking our community, St. Mary’s County Health Department and St. Mary’s County Library are partnering to host an Opioid Learning Series open to the public. This six part series will be held every other Thursday at the Lexington Park Library from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. beginning on January 11 and continuing on January 25, February 8 and 22, and March 8 and 22. Both the February 8 and March 22 will feature a special concurrent session geared toward adolescents.

Registration is not required but recommended to ensure adequate seating and hand out materials for participants. Light refreshments will be served.

To register, visit: https://www.stmalib.org/events/adult-events/opioid-learning-series/
For more information on the opioid epidemic, visit: http://www.smchd.org/opioid/

Individuals may attend all of the sessions or choose specific sessions based on their interest in the following topics:

January 11, 2018 (Snow date: January 18, 2018)
Topic: The Big Picture. In an effort to combat the growing epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse, the FBI and DEA have released “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict,” a documentary that explores the dangers of addiction. This session will feature a screening of this powerful documentary followed by a guided discussion on the opioid epidemic.

January 25, 2018 (Snow date: February 1, 2018)
Topic: The Opioid Crisis in St. Mary’s. This session will explore the opioid epidemic in St. Mary’s County. Local data, prevention and response efforts will be shared by Dr. Meenakshi G. Brewster, MD, MPH, FAAFP, St. Mary’s County Health Officer.

February 8, 2018 (Snow date: February 15, 2018)
Topic: Prevention & Recognition. The third session will include two simultaneous sessions, one for adults and one for teens. The adult session will include information on detecting the signs of addiction, communicating with your adolescent, relationship building and support groups. The teen session will explore how to recognize when a friend or family member is in trouble, how to talk to them, how to take care of yourself and resources that can help.

February 22, 2018 (Snow date: March 1, 2018)
Topic: Stigma. This session will explore stigma. What is stigma and how does it impact access to treatment services or utilization of resources? Personal experiences will be shared by affected family members and individuals in recovery.

March 8, 2018 (Snow date: March 15, 2018)
Topic: Treatment. This session will provide an overview of the different levels of treatment that are available for substance abuse disorders and will provide information on how to access these services in St. Mary’s County.

March 22, 2018 (Snow date: March 29, 2018)
Topic: How to Respond. The sixth and final session of the Opioid Learning Series will include a brief overview of the entire series, followed by information for community members on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose. A special teen session will run simultaneously in which teens will learn about peer intervention strategies, how and when to seek help, what you can do if can you witness an overdose.