Funding for Worcester County School District prevention and educational efforts to address the opioid epidemic

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WORCESTER COUNTY, Md. – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a $10 million grant to expand access to treatment and community recovery programs to combat the opioid epidemic.

“Our hope with this funding this year is to reach even more students than we already do,” said Tamara Mills, education coordinator for the Worcester County School District.

More than $113,000 of this funding goes to the Worcester County Public School District. “This year our campaign will be called ‘Just Say Know,’ know, a different kind of just say no; to really educate the public to raise awareness about addiction prevention, especially with opioids,” said Mills.

This year is the most dollars they have received from the Maryland Opioid Operational Command Center and they plan to put it to good use. “We’ve kind of stepped up substance use prevention in schools, obviously over the last few years, but this year we’re going to go even further with the Worcester Goes Purple program,” Mills said.

One experience they’ll be expanding this year is their “Mega Brain.”

“It’s a giant inflatable brain that students can walk through,” Mills said. “It’s very interactive and what it does is show students the impact of drugs and alcohol on their brains and we can bring that to 5 schools this year.”

The school district, along with Worcester Goes Purple, said spreading these educational experiences was key, especially to younger kids. “We have to bring these kids in and I talk about early education when the kids are in day care and that kind of stuff to let them know what medicine is, what are the things that are okay to touch, what are the things that are not suitable to touch you,” said Debbie Smullen, with Worcester Goes Purple.

But that’s not their only goal. “So it’s also about removing the stigma of being in recovery and helping people with addiction issues in the community,” Mills said.

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