Recovery: Retreat House at Hillsboro Plans Spring Programs on AA and Meditation

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The Retreat House at Hillsboro is hosting several events that are open to the public throughout the spring.

On Saturday, April 22, a half-day retreat, “Recovering Spirit: Fulfilling our Authentic Selves” will be held from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. This is the third retreat led by the Reverend Paul Gennett, Jr. and it will focus on the gift of living into a fulfilled recovering life through AA’s Steps 8-12. The session includes discussion and time for meditation. A light breakfast and lunch is provided. There is no charge for the retreat but a suggested donation of $25 would be gratefully accepted to cover expenses. Register at https://recoveringspirit3.eventbrite.com.

Francie Thayer, Director, Retreat House at Hillsboro will lead weekly half-hour meditation classes.

Beginning on Saturday May 6, the Rev. Marianne Ell will be leading worship services at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Hillsboro MD. The service will begin at 5:30 PM. Rev. Ell is the most recent Rector at St. Paul’s, ending her time there in 1996. Her recent return to the area and love of the community and church have drawn her to this offering. Assisting her will be the Rev. Rachel Field, current assistant Director of the Retreat House at Hillsboro MD. All are welcome.

Weekly meditation classes will begin on Monday, May 8 at 5:45 p.m. These classes are designed for people who are challenged to make time for a meditation practice and for those who aren’t sure how to get a practice started. The 30-minute session, led by Retreat House spiritual director Francie Thayer, will include guidance for beginners. A peaceful space and pillows will also be provided. To sign up, send an email to info@retreathousehillsboro.org or call (410) 364-7042.

On Saturday, June 3, the Retreat House grounds will be open for a Neighborhood Barbecue from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. Drinks, desserts, condiments and paper goods will be provided and grills will be set up. Guests are asked to bring meats and side dishes to share as well as blankets and lawn chairs. Some seating will be available. RSVP by Monday, May 29 to info@retreathousehillsboro.org or call (410) 364-7042.

Located on the grounds of St. Paul’s Church at 22005 Church Street, Hillsboro, Maryland, the Retreat House is open for group retreats and meetings, individual hermitages, meditation and any who seek a spiritual connection. A traditional Chartres-style walking labyrinth is always open for walking and prayer. The Retreat House at Hillsboro is a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Easton, MD. For more information contact Francie Thayer, Director, at (410) 364-7042, info@retreathouse.org, or visit us on Facebook.com/RetreatHouseAtHillsboro.

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Photo caption: Francie Thayer, Director, Retreat House at Hillsboro will lead weekly half-hour meditation classes.

Recovery: Former Addict Speaks at WC April 21

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Michael DeLeon, a former addict and gang member who spent 12 years in prison, will present “Under the Influence,” a program on combatting substance abuse, at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 21. on the Washington College Campus.

After his release, DeLeon founded Steered Straight, a non-profit program designed to inform youth of the dangers of drug use and gang activity. He is the producer of the award-winning documentaries “Kids Are Dying” and “An American Epidemic.” His impassioned speeches have brought home his message to more than five million young people. He takes the time to answer questions from anyone in the audience. He says, “I don’t want to affect just one kid; I want to affect them all “

DeLeon’s speech, at 5:30 p.m. in Room 100, Goldstein Hall, is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by Kent County Behavior Health. For more information, call 410-778-7918

Recovery: Inaugural Tri-County Prevention Walk set for May 13

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The inaugural tri-county prevention walk is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, May 13 at Church Hill park in Church Hill, and supports efforts at keeping our communities drug- and alcohol-free.

The free walk is a collaborative effort from the prevention offices of Caroline, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, with the theme, ‘Making a difference – one step at a time.’

“This walk is for anyone who’s had drugs or alcohol affect their lives,” said Annette Duckery, prevention coordinator for Kent County. “We’re working hard to prevent drug use and alcohol abuse in our communities, and this offers everyone the chance to support our efforts.”

The event includes fun for the entire family, with a live DJ, free back packs, snacks and games including corn hole. Registration is available online at Eventbrite.

The walk coincides with National Prevention Week, which is an annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, mental and/or substance use disorders. This year’s prevention week is from May 14 until May 20.

“National prevention week offers the perfect opportunity to show our solidarity in the fight against substance use disorders,” said Iris Carter, prevention coordinator for Queen Anne’s County. “With several overdoses in our area each week, we’ve got to come together and support prevention efforts across our region.”

Prevention efforts start young, and can help keep drug use from starting.

“We all can invest in drug and alcohol prevention,” said Melanie Rodriguez, prevention coordinator for Caroline County. “Prevention really IS the best treatment.

For more information on the walk, please contact Duckery at 410-778-7918 for Kent County; Carter at 410-758-1306 ext. 4524 in Queen Anne’s and Rodriguez at 410-479-8164 in Caroline. The Tri-County Prevention Walk is a collaboration between the health department prevention offices of Caroline, Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties. The walk also is supported by SAMHSA and the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration.

April is National Alcohol Awareness Month

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While the use of heroin dominates our news, alcohol remains the most commonly used and abused substance among our youth. According to the latest youth survey, about 65 percent of Talbot County high school students have had at least one drink. And, about 12 percent of our high schoolers have driven after drinking.

Parents are a powerful source of positive and reliable information. In fact, research has shown that kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50 percent less likely to use these substances than those who don’t have such conversations.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, here are some guidelines that can help parents talk about alcohol and drug use:

Listen before you talk: For kids, knowing that someone is really listening is most important. Ask open-ended questions. Be involved. Be honest and open. Be positive: talking about these issues can build bridges rather than walls. And remember, addiction is a chronic, progressive disease that can be linked to family history and genetics. So, if you there is a family history of problems be matter of fact about it, as one would be with any other chronic disease, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

The longer children can delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop problems.Parents can make a difference – that’s why it is so important to help your child connect the dots and make smart decisions about alcohol and drug use.

To learn more about how to prevent alcohol and drug abuse in your child, contact Alexandra Duff, Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention Coordinator at Talbot County Health Department, at 410-819-5600.

The Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office helps community groups, agencies and individuals in providing programs and activities to prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse, and to build a healthier community. Resources include parenting skills, video and resource loan library, awareness campaigns and educational workshops.

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

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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 gosv.maryland.gov/available- 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

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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  http://www.mpt.org/breakingheroin

 

Profles in Recovery: Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office

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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

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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

 

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Addiction Treatment Round Table Focuses on Rural Challenges

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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.