Community Forum Planned for Opioid Crisis

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A public forum on the opioid crisis is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25 in the Hynson Lounge at Washington College in Chestertown.

The free community event includes information on recovery, mental health issues and substance use disorder from a panel of experts and people in long-term recovery. The intent is to hold an open discussion on the opioid issue and provide answers to questions from the community.

“Education is an important part of fighting opioid abuse here in our communities,” said Annette Duckery, alcohol and other drugs prevention coordinator with Kent County Behavioral Health. “This forum not only provides crucial information about the opioid issue, it also offers hope to anyone affected by substance use disorder, through personal stories of recovery. “

Speakers on the panel include: Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino; Jen Moore, program manager monitor for the Kent County Local Management Board; Tim Dove, local addictions authority for Kent County Behavioral Health (KCBH); community health outreach workers with KCBH Rachel Goss and Rani Gutting and Chrissy Chisolm, executive director of Foundations of Recovery and owner of the Mission House.

“We’re excited to get all of these people in one room to talk about the crisis and, in effect, to start an open and real conversation,” said Leslie Sea, general manager with local radio station WCTR. The forum is presented by WCTR and will air on WCTR and later as a podcast online at wctr.com.

For more information on alcohol and other drug use and misuse prevention, contact Duckery at 410-778-7918 or visit www.KentHD.org.

The Kent County Behavioral Health Prevention Office helps community groups, agencies and individuals in providing programs and activities to prevent alcohol and other drug abuse, and to build a healthier community.

Mid-Shore Health: The Future of Memory Loss on the Delmarva with Dr. Terry Detrich

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Showing his strong native roots on the Mid-Shore, the first thing Dr. Terry Detrich notes about the establishment of the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic at Bayleigh Chase in Easton was his long-festering grievance that the center’s location had replaced his favorite goose hunting spot. Growing up as a boy in Easton, he and his friends had used the farmland east of Route 50 for that purpose before leaving the Shore to attend college and medical school to become a neurologist.

Dr. Detrich returned to Talbot County after that intensive training to become the Delmarva’s first general neurologist and since the 1960s has been watching his field go from “diagnosis and adios” to stunning new breakthroughs in eldercare treatment for cognition disorders.

And while there have been peaks and valleys in the understanding of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease since the doctor started his practice forty plus years ago, he noted in his recent Spy interview that he has never been more encouraged than over the last two years as he and his colleagues began to see an evolution in how patients are treated with better results and more precise tools for prevention.

That was one of the reasons that led Dr. Detrich to join the staff of the Bratton Clinic this year and the Spy caught up with him on first day on the job late last year to talk about this new phase of Neurocognitive work and his renewed faith that real progress is being made.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic at Bayleigh Chase please go here

Bonnie Hilghman Cancer Fund Continues Support for Wellness for Women Program

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University of Maryland Memorial Hospital Foundation received a donation of $9,000 from the Bonnie Hilghman Cancer Fund, in support of its 2017 golf tournament benefiting the Clark Comprehensive Breast Center at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health. Proceeds from the tournament, which took place in September, 2017, support the Wellness for Women community outreach program, which promotes screening and patient education for early detection of breast cancer.

Front row: Wellness for Women community outreach workers Maria D’Arcy, Mattie Fountain and Jane Escher, community outreach workers; back row, Duane Hilghman, Brian Leutner, executive director, UM SRH Oncology Services, and F. Graham Lee, UM SRH vice president, philanthropy.

The mission of the Bonnie Hilghman Cancer Fund is to help nonprofit organizations that provide services to cancer patients, including chemotherapy, necessary medications, transportation costs, child care, housekeeping and nursing care. Since 2005, the Fund has given more than $100, 000 in grants to help residents in the five-county region served by UM Shore Regional Health who are fighting cancer.

“We cannot overstate the importance of the Bonnie Hilghman Cancer Fund’s ongoing support for cancer screening services and patient education,” said Graham Lee, vice president, philanthropy, for UM Shore Regional Health. “Annual contributions from the Fund have helped thousands of women benefit from early detection screenings and patient education that are so important to survival.”

For more information, contact Duane Hilghman, 410-310-7696 or dhilghman@verizon.net.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,500 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

I Didn’t Know about Mental Illness until I Did By Liz Freedlander

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For most of my life, like many of my friends and family, I knew hardly anything about mental illness until I started a consulting relationship for a few hours a month with Channel Marker. This piece about my experience has been writing itself in my head for a while.

I have had my heart broken open by the people who Channel Marker serves. I now know about persons diagnosed with severe, persistent mental illness and their families. Please read these words again: SEVERE and PERSISTENT. You can often tell by looking that people living with mental illness do not fit our definition of normal. We want to look away. I don’t look away any more because I now know about mental illness.

The chemistry of the brain of mentally ill persons usually has been changed. In some cases, by exposure to terrible things as a child that have resulted in PTSD. All this time, I thought PTSD was relegated to war experiences. Channel Marker does serve war veterans. (One Vietnam vet still hears the screams of men and the sounds of gun-fire). It also serves children and youth diagnosed with PTSD.

Many of these ill persons suffer from schizophrenia, often occurring out of the blue while in their twenties. They hear voices or have visual hallucinations – often – sometimes constantly.

During a conversation at the Channel Marker Holiday Party, one of these young men and I were having a pleasant conversation when he apologized for wearing his sunglasses. He said, “They help me with the voices.” This was once a young boy, like any young boy, who grew up riding bikes with pals in his neighborhood and enjoying family vacations. Now, he can look a little scary.

For some reason the tattoos, including the one in the middle of his forehead, give him meaning in his difficult life. He is polite and sweet and has a sense of humor. He religiously takes his meds although the side effects make him feel debilitated. They help him cope.

I have met parents. The heartache never goes away. One mother said, “The stigma of mental illness makes me feel as if my son spends each day out in the middle of a field where he is pecked to death.” One father’s sadness was palpable as he explained that his son does not take his meds so his symptoms, out of control, make it very difficult to have a relationship.  Still this father  faithfully makes an effort. You can see the pain in this man’s eyes as he describes the vibrant young man with a blossoming career who was once his son.

Lisa is a grown woman whose children live with other families. She has pretty red hair like I once did. She has PTSD with symptoms of chronic depression and anxiety disorders. She told me her life story. I cried. Her childhood with a cruel, narcissistic mother portended poor choices of men in her life. The ultimate result was fleeing for her own survival from a marriage so abusive that she had to leave her children behind with their father. She mourns the loss of her kids. I leave it to your imagination as to what might be part of her story – when she wears a skirt, she always wears pants under it. Her anxiety causes her to be unable to work in an environment where she might be alone with a man.

But this is not the totality of my experience. I have experienced hope and help delivered in the most compassionate and professional manner by Channel Marker. While mental illness may not be curable; it is treatable. The caring staff see beyond the illness into the hearts and personhood of their clients. They provide emotional support, life-skills, goal setting, job-training and placement, triage for health problems, places to live, a peer group and just plain normal laughter. There are success stories.

Only the brave and the optimistic can do this work every day. I think they are heroes. Marty Cassell, a therapist who has worked at Channel Marker for 25 years and a married father of four boys, is tall and attractive but rarely smiles. I asked him one day if the work is heavy. He said, “I love my work because I can see positive changes in my clients. Do you know that in addition to my day job here at Channel Marker, I work evenings for Mid-shore Council on Family Violence to provide one-to-one counseling for battered women. I also have a support group for men who are batterers.” He answered my question.

There are victories to be celebrated because of Marty and his colleagues at Channel Marker. Lisa who lost her children is strong and clear about her past and her future. Her goal is to have a job in an agricultural setting and be an advocate for sustainable farming. She has poured her maternal love into her cats and has a fiancé. She is a student at Chesapeake College and was recently invited to take an honors course. She, like many others, credit their successes to Channel Marker.

Channel Marker annually serves about 400 individuals almost 50% of whom are ages 21 and younger, in Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester Counties.

Liz Freedlander has been a resident of Talbot County for 41 years. She was executive director of Talbot Hospice from 1990 to 2004 and recently retired as director of development from the Horn Point Laboratory after 10 years. She has been a fundraising consultant to a number of local nonprofits. Liz has been raising money for nonprofits since the age of 9 when she canvassed her neighborhood with a tin can and collected $5.94 for the Baltimore Symphony.

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Mid-Shore Health: Aspen Institute Cancels Rehab Center Contract

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The Star-Democrat reported today that a contract for a rehabilitation facility proposed by Recovery Centers of America at the Aspen Institute’s Wye Mills site has been terminated effective Dec. 21. The house is part of Aspen’s Wye River Conference Center in Queen Anne’s County.

The full story can be read here (Reader charges may apply)

Safe Sitter Class Set for January 20 in Chestertown

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The popular Safe Sitter® class, taught by pediatric nurses for youth ages 11-13, will be offered on Saturday, January 20, 9 a.m.to 3:30 p.m. at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown Education Center.

Safe Sitter® is a national, non-profit organization that provides programs to teach youth life and safety skills for when they are home alone, watching younger siblings, or babysitting. Over 175 lives have been saved by Safe Sitter® graduates using the skills learned through the Safe Sitter® training. More information about the program may be found at www.safesitter.org.

The cost for this one-day class is $45; some scholarships are available. Because seating is limited, advance registration is required. For more information or to register, call Chrissy Nelson, 410-778-7668, ext. 2175.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,200 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.

Local Drug and Alcohol Council Unveils Heroin Education Trailer

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Inside the “Heroin Van” — a replica of a teenage drug user’s bedroom

On Wednesday, Jan. 3, the Kent County Local Drug and Alcohol Council unveiled “a new initiative in an effort to create awareness, education, and treatment intervention opportunities for folks dealing with substance abuse issues.” This new program involves a traveling “teenager’s bedroom on wheels.”   This bedroom on wheels will provide an educational opportunity for parents. Staff will use the van to show parents what to look for and to let them know about other resources to assist people with substance abuse problems– especially opioid related.

​The 7’ x 14’ trailer was purchased by the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff John Price said, “The trailer was purchased using seized drug related funds. It is our hope that this will help educate families and provide a unique way to deliver resources throughout Kent County for people who need help dealing with substance abuse.” Sheriff Price also recognized Warden Herb Dennis of the Kent County Detention Center and Director Wayne Darrell and Ginger Gregg from the Office of Emergency Services for their help with the project.

Volunteers and staff associated with the Kent County LDAC at the unveiling of the new van on Wed. Jan 3.

The trailer made its public debut in the parking lot of the Kent County office building at 400 High Street. After a meeting of the Local Drug and Alcohol Council in the County Commissioners’ meeting room, members were given a chance to view the trailer, which at first glance appears to be an innocent replica of a teenager’s bedroom. But on closer inspection, many “ordinary” objects are revealed as hiding places for drugs or drug paraphernalia.

Gregg said the trailer will be open to adults (over age 18) only, so as to avoid giving young people ideas about ways to cover up drug use. For the same reason, she asked the Spy not to publish details of the hiding places in the bedroom.  We can note, however, that despite the road sign on the bedroom wall, there is no Interstate 420.  There were originally plans to build a by-pass around Atlanta, GA, off Interstate 20 that would have been called I-420, but it was never built and has been officially canceled.  The term 420 has been a code word for smoking marijuana since the early 1970s.  It supposedly refers to the the time 4:20 pm after school when kids would meet to smoke.  Other stories offer different origins for the term, but whatever the source, young people have been buying — or stealing — road signs with the number 420 for years.  It’s appearance on a teen’s bedroom wall does not, of course, prove drug use but it is an indication that the teen is aware of drug slang.  This sign was just one of many “clues” in the van.

​The trailer will travel around the county where staff will show it to people, while explaining what to look for.  There will also be informational pamphlets that parents can take home with contact information on other resources for help on substance abuse. Gregg said the LDAC plans to bring the bedroom on wheels to community events such as Chestertown Tea Party and Galena Dogwood Festival and to schools and churches to spread awareness. Organizations wishing to schedule a visit should call Ginger Gregg at 410-778-7472 or Sheriff Price at 410-778-2279. Every effort will be made to accommodate requests.

According to Price there were 18 verified opioid overdoses, including one death, in Kent county in 2017.  However, he said, not all overdoses are reported, so this is a conservative number.

Gregg said, “We are working hard to deliver the needed awareness and resources for our communities throughout Kent County. Please call us!”

A side view of the heroin van

The rear of the heroin van, with a list of sponsors

Insight Meditation Community Offers Introductory Class 

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The Insight Meditation Community of Chestertown is offering a 6-week Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation class on Sunday afternoons from 3:30 to 5 p.m. beginning  January 7, 2018.

At the heart of insight meditation is the practice of mindfulness, the cultivation of clear, stable and non-judgmental awareness. Anne Briggs, the group’s leader, and Wendy Morrison, a mindfulness and yoga teacher, will be teaching the classes, which will be held at the Chester River Friends Meeting House, 124 Philosophers Terrace, Chestertown.

There is a $25.00 registration fee, which can be mailed to Anne Briggs at 220 N. Kent Street, Chestertown, Md. 21620. Checks should be made payable to IMC – Chestertown, and accompanied by your e-mail address and telephone number.

For further information, please get in touch with Anne Briggs by phone at 410-778-1746, or by e-mail at info@imc-chestertown.org, or consult the group’s web site

Hospital Foundation Sponsors Angel Tree

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Photo: Shown at the Chester River Angel Tree gifts pick up are: front row, Stacey Ruckart and Sandy Prochaska, RN, both from nursing; Scott Burleson, hospital executive director; Lindsay Herr, representing Kent County Social Services; back row,Jone Taylor, representing Queen Anne’s County Social Services; Dawn Young, also from Kent County Social Services; Sue Edson, CRH Auxiliary president; Pay Unruh and Vicki Neal, Auxiliary volunteers; and Rebekah Hock, representing the Kent Center; and Sherrie Hill, RN.

The Chester River Health Foundation sponsors an annual Angel Tree on which hangs “holiday wishes” from children in the Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties’ foster care programs and also from clients of the Kent Center, which provides services to adults with developmental disabilities. More than 66 holiday gifts were donated by members of the CRHF Auxiliary as well as staff members at UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, UM Shore Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, UM Chester River Home Care and UM Chester River Health Foundation.

As part of the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University of Maryland Shore Regional Health is the principal provider of comprehensive health care services for more than 170,000 residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. UM Shore Regional Health’s team of more than 2,200 employees, medical staff, board members and volunteers works with various community partners to fulfill the organization’s mission of Creating Healthier Communities Together.