Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism Now Accepting Concept Papers for Grants That Help Prevent Prescription Drug and Opioid Abuse


The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism is now accepting concept papers for 2017 AmeriCorps State-Targeted Priority program grants in Maryland. These grants will fund service activities that address critical community needs, namely the need to prevent prescription drug and opioid abuse and strengthen law enforcement and community relations.

In order to understand statewide needs and identify prospective applicants for this grant opportunity, the Office on Service and Volunteerism is partnering with Governor Larry Hogan’s Opioid Operational Command Center, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“Marylanders from every corner of the state know the devastation that heroin and opioid abuse can cause,” said Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford. “That’s why it’s so important that groups already dedicated to community service become a part of our statewide fight to end this epidemic.”

Through additional funds provided by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service, the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism has hired a special initiatives coordinator to assist in this grant process. Working with the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, the coordinator’s goal is to ensure that Maryland is equipped to effectively address the opioid epidemic.

The grants come on the heels of Governor Hogan’s announcement of the administration’s 2017 Heroin and Opioid Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement Initiative, a multi-pronged and sweeping administrative and legislative effort to continue addressing Maryland’s ongoing opioid and heroin epidemic.

The first step in the application process for a 2017 AmeriCorps State-Targeted Priority program grant is to submit a concept paper, due by 10 a.m. on Friday, March 10, 2017. Concept papers will be reviewed and applicants will be notified of acceptance by March 24. At that time, accepted applicants will be invited to complete a full grant application, due in April. The funding year will run from August 15, 2017, to August 14, 2018. To submit a concept paper or for more information, visit funding/.

About the Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism
The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism is a unit of the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives. Through the use of federal dollars, the office funds AmeriCorps State programs to support community service efforts in Maryland. Each year, the office recognizes more than 200,000 Maryland volunteers on behalf of the governor.

Recovery: Maryland Public TV to Air ‘Breaking Heroin’s Grip’ February 11


Maryland Public Television (MPT) and over two dozen other local TV and radio stations to air a new program called Breaking Heroin’s Grip: Road To Recovery on February 11 at 7 p.m. The program was produced in association with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – Behavioral Health Administration .

The program focuses on the struggles and recovery efforts of three Maryland residents, in rural and urban settings, dealing with opioid addictions. The documentary portion will last 40 minutes and will be followed by a 20 minute live phone bank staffed by crisis hotline staff who will provide callers with information on treatment. The number to call is 800-422-0009.

The program was arranged with broadcast and print media as part of an effort to bring localized coverage of the opioid epidemic. Maryland is among many states with surging numbers of fatal overdoses largely from opioids, which include prescription painkillers and heroin.

For more information please go here


Profles in Recovery: Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office


Did you know that 85 percent of people in recovery for alcoholism still smoke, according to the Association of American Family Physicians (AAFP)? In fact, the AAFP says people in recovery may have a greater addiction to nicotine than smokers without a problem with alcohol.

In addition, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism highlights the connection between smoking and alcohol:

  • 80-95 percent of alcoholics smoke.
  • Alcoholics smoke at a rate of three times greater than non-alcoholics.
  • 70 percent of alcoholics are classified as heavy smokers, who smoke more than a pack per day.

Just like quitting alcohol or drugs, giving up cigarettes is one of the best things you can do for yourself. In fact, research shows that quitting smoking actually improves the rate of recovery from other addictions.

The Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office is committed to ending the death and disease caused by tobacco use, and offers free support and resources to anyone ready to quit. They can help you quit cigarettes, e-cigarettes, smokeless tobacco – even flavored cigars. Their free cessation help includes Chantix, the patch and nicotine gum, along with support on achieving your quit goal. TCHD also can come to any local business and teach smoking cessation classes for your employees. Please call us at 410-819-5600 if you’d like to learn more. Funding for their free cessation support and resources comes from the Cigarette Restitution Fund

Andria Duff, Prevention Coordinator at Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office.

Alexandra Duff, Prevention Coordinator at Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office.

Community Support

The Prevention Office helps community groups, agencies and individuals in providing programs and activities that help prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse. So far this year they’ve provided more than $38,000 in local grants to community organizations, churches and schools on prevention programs and activities and have also launched several mini-campaigns aimed at promoting alcohol-, tobacco- and drug-free lives. Their activities this year also have included several prevention events, both with students and with various community groups.

Talbot County Health Department also work with retailers to reduce tobacco sales to minors, through the Synar program. The Synar program helps ensure our county remains compliant with federal legislation that requires states to enforce laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco products to minors. Each year they conduct educational activities, including youth events, and provide resources for retailers.

Prescription Pills and the Heroin Crisis

The Prevention Office works toward increased awareness and education on the dangers of opioids, including important resources for the community. They work with several community partners on medication drop-off and proper disposal, information on opioids including use, risks and overdose prevention; promotion of the Good Samaritan Law and a host of other activities. Their prevention funding comes from the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant from SAMSHA and the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration.

Underage Drinking and Responsible Retailers

Lastly, TCHD works with local schools and other organizations on preventing underage drinking, binge drinking and impaired driving. They also are working on a campaign geared toward are seniors, many of whom are at risk from alcohol use. In addition, we work with retailers on responsible alcohol practices, offering resources and support where possible. They also support Check Yourself Talbot, a community coalition working to reduce binge drinking here in our community.

The Prevention Office is here to help build a healthier community, and offers a host of resources including educational workshops and a resource loan library. If you’d like information or resources on alcohol, tobacco or drug use prevention please contact Alexandra Duff, prevention coordinator, at 410-819-5600. You can also find resources and information on our Facebook page geared toward parents/caregivers – Be the Parent on the Scene.

Recovery: Checking out the Whitsitt Center in Chestertown



Kent County Behavioral Health Staff

Kent County Behavioral Health Staff

Kent County Behavioral Health’s A. F. Whitsitt Center is an inpatient facility in Chestertown offering treatment for adults suffering from chemical dependency and co-occurring disorders.

The Center provides detox and stabilization for people with substance use disorders and/or mental health disorders in a residential setting. The recommended stay is 21 days.

State funded, Behavioral Health Administration, A.F. Whitsitt Center (AFW) has been open since 1983. Additionally, The Governor’s Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force recently awarded the Center $800,000 to increase its number of beds from to 40.

The Center’s mission is to offer a better quality of life through substance abuse prevention, intervention, comprehensive treatment and recovery support services for addiction and other mental health issues.

AFW’s Crisis Bed Unit offers short-term detox and stabilization for patients whose primary diagnosis includes mental health problems. The average length of stay is 12-14 days, and upon discharge, patients are supported with a discharge plan that includes case management and introductions to appropriate agencies that can further support their well-being as they transition back into the community.

According to Tim Dove, Director of Outpatient Treatment for Kent County Behavioral Health, a recent increase in available treatment beds has resulted in shorter waiting lists, from 45 days in October 2015 to 14 days at present. There have been some instances in which a referred individual can be admitted on the day the referral was received.

AFW also reaches out to county residents through the Care Coordination/Peer Support Services offered by Kent County Behavioral Health (KCBH) by providing referrals and helping to monitor sober living environments. The AFW Recovery In Motion Center offers a wide variety of support groups as well as computer access for the purpose of employment research, resume writing, and job applications.

KCBH also works with other agencies in the county to address the problems caused by substance abuse. KCBH staff participate in the Rock Hall Town Hall Meeting, provide presentations at Rotary Club meetings, and conduct programs in faith-based communities around the county, including Hope Fellowship, Chestertown Baptist, Emmanuel Church of Pomona, and St. George Church of Worton. They also work closely with the Alano Club, a 12-step recovery organization.

Says Dove, “The Whitsitt Center recognizes the ongoing opioid epidemic and seeks to make treatment more accessible while securing additional funding for the growing number of people seeking recovery.”

AFW initiatives and projects include:

Education and provision of Naloxone in the community
Working with University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown to access prompt residential treatment for people who have been revived after an opioid overdose.
Working with Kent County District and Circuit Court in the Post Adjudication Substance Abuse Treatment (PAST) program.
Working with Kent County Detention Center (KCDC) treatment for substance use disorder is provided in the jail. Appropriate referrals for continuing care to facilitate reentry after completing their sentence.
Providing education and administration of Vivitrol, a medication that works in conjunction with counseling and recovery.
KCBH participates in the Kent County DSS multidisciplinary team and contributes to various committees and work groups facilitated by Mid-Shore Behavioral Health.

KCBH employs a wide array of professionals, all of whom have a background in treating people with substance use disorder and / or a mental health disorder. The agency also offers a strong internship program for college? Undergraduate? Graduate? Students pursuing studies in behavioral health and addiction treatment services. These interns, along with volunteers from the community, help KCBH personnel participate in varied church services and activities around the county. Gifts and grant support from public and private entities, including the Town of Chestertown and Kent County Rotary, also support treatment and recovery programs offered by KCBH.


KCBH Outpatient Addictions Staff

KCBH Outpatient Addictions Staff


KCBH Mental Health Outpatient Staff

KCBH Mental Health Outpatient Staff





Addiction Treatment Round Table Focuses on Rural Challenges


A round table discussion on solutions to the rural opioid epidemic was held Tuesday, October 18 at the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department in Chester. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hosted the forum, which was chaired by Jeff Eschmeyer, senior advisor to the Secretary of USDA.

Eschmeyer cited many issues specific to rural areas, including insufficient treatment and recovery facilities, the long distances people must travel to seek or access treatment, and fear of stigma in communities where everyone knows each other.

Additional attendees included other USDA officials, officials from the Farm Service Agency in Maryland and Delaware, law enforcement officers, mental health officials, and leaders in the community

The Star Democrat recently reported on the round table discussion and the challenges faced by drug addicts in rural areas here.

Recovery: Lethal Marketing and The Royal Court of OxyContin


Again, we keep coming across the message that consumers are merely profit streams in the pharmaceutical world, even if it means endangering and even killing through easier access to opioids.

Unsealed internal documents reveal Abbott Laboratories inappropriate marketing campaign to sell OxyContin. This is only one example of cynical business practices trumping concern for the health of the nation.

Read here




Health Spending for Opioid Treatment Increases 1,375 Percent Since 2011


A recent article in Kaiser Health News observes that health spending related to opioid treatment has risen 1,375 percent from 2011 to 2015, underscoring the dramatic increase of opioid abuse and addiction.

Read the study here:

Study: Health Spending Related To Opioid Treatment Rose More Than 1,300 Percent

Lethal Counterfeit Drugs Hitting US Streets


“Street Lethal” is a term I’m coining for the plethora of counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl—drug that can be 1000 times more potent than heroin,—currently hitting American streets.

As Salon reports, we are still behind the curve of getting the word out and it should concern all of us.

Read here.

Christ Church-Easton to Host Recovery Celebration on September 17


To celebrate September as National Recovery Month, Recovery for Shore is planning a free community event, Saturday, September 17, 2016, 5-8 p.m. at Christ Church–Easton, 111 South Harrison Street in Easton.

“Recovery Happens – A Message of Hope” will begin with the “Alive at Five” worship service in the church at 5 p.m. To highlight the reality of successful, long-term recovery now enjoyed by 23 million of Americans, Recovery for Shore member Bruce Strazza, who formerly was a drug user and dealer, will offer his testimony during the hour-long service. (A preview of Strazza’s testimony may be viewed on Christ Church–Easton’s Youtube channel, here. 

Following the service, there will be a free, picnic-style barbecue supper and live music (on the lawn or in the church hall, depending on the weather). Recovery for Shore members will be on hand with information about community resources for prevention, treatment, advocacy, support groups and much more.

Says Sharon Dundon, coordinator for Recovery for Shore, “We welcome those in recovery and their family and friends, and also those still struggling with addiction and/or mental illness for themselves or within their families. We had a great turnout for our Walk of Hope for Recovery last April and at our Recovery Dinner two years ago, and we’d love to see 200 people come out for this celebration.”

In addition to Recovery for Shore and Christ Church–Easton, “Recovery Happens – A Message of Hope” event sponsors to date include Chesapeake Treatment Services, Earth Data, Inc., Mariah’s Mission Fund of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence/Maryland (NCADD), Queen Anne’s County Health Department, Shore Behavioral Health and Warwick Manor.

Recovery for Shore members at a recent planning meeting for the "Recovery Happens - A Message of Hope" celebration. Front row: Jana Leslie, Christ-Church Easton; Sharon Dundon, Shore Behavioral Health; Valerie Albee, Mariah’s Mission Fund; and Tierra Molock, Talbot County Health Department. Back row: Jim Dissette, Spy Publications Recovery Portal; Keith Richards, Warwick Manor Behavioral Health; Bruce Strazza, Christ Church-Easton; Jay Frost, Talbot County Addictions; Lynne Ewing, Talbot Partnership; and Lisa Flynn, Shore Behavioral Health.

Recovery for Shore members at a recent planning meeting for the “Recovery Happens – A Message of Hope” celebration. Front row: Jana Leslie, Christ-Church Easton; Sharon Dundon, Shore Behavioral Health; Valerie Albee, Mariah’s Mission Fund; and Tierra Molock, Talbot County Health Department. Back row: Jim Dissette, Spy Publications Recovery Portal; Keith Richards, Warwick Manor Behavioral Health; Bruce Strazza, Christ Church-Easton; Jay Frost, Talbot County Addictions; Lynne Ewing, Talbot Partnership; and Lisa Flynn, Shore Behavioral Health.

For more information or to volunteer assistance with the event, visit or Recovery for Shore on Facebook.