Sheriff Launches Educational Videos On Opioid Addiction

Sheriff Launches Educational Videos On Opioid Addiction
A still image from a video, “The Dangers of Addiction,” by Worcester County Sheriff Matt Crisafulli is shown. File Photo

BERLIN — The Worcester County Sheriff’s Department is ramping up the battle against opioid addiction with a promised series of videos aimed at ending the scourge and getting help to those who need it the most.

The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office this week released the first of a promised series of videos aimed at eliminating, or at least reducing, the opioid addiction crisis in the local area and throughout the state. In the first video of the series released this week entitled “The Dangers of Addiction,” Sheriff Matt Crisafulli raises awareness of the growing crisis and vows to direct the resources of his department and its allied agencies to end the scourge. In the video, Crisafulli points out more people now die nationwide from opioid-related addiction than in motor vehicle crashes. In 2018, 40,100 people died in vehicle crashes, while 47,600 died from opioid-related causes.

“For the first time on record, the odds of dying from an accidental opioid overdose are greater than those of dying in an automobile accident,” he said. “It’s not just affecting the bad kids. It’s affecting our brothers, our daughters, our leaders and our friends. It’s affecting those from all walks of life.”

Crisafulli said the opioid crisis, including heroin and fentanyl, has hit almost every area of Worcester across a broad spectrum of socio-economic groups.

“So many of us know someone who is facing addiction or who has overdosed, but we still think ‘not my kid,’ or ‘my kid would never do that,’” he said. “The numbers don’t lie. In 2018, over 200 youth under 25 died from heroin or fentanyl-related overdoses in Maryland. That’s 200 of our children, our friend’s children or our future teachers or future nurses and future leaders. That’s 200 lives lost that could have been prevented.”

Crisafulli vowed his department would continue to work with allied agencies such as the Worcester County Health Department, social services and allied law enforcement agencies to provide resources to those facing addiction and their loved ones. He said it is a battle that will require all of the county’s resources.

“Parents often think they can handle it on their own, but youth facing opioid addiction critically need professional help,” he said. “Get in touch with your local resources, including the health department and the sheriff’s office to get help. The battle against opioid addiction is a crisis and we are here to help, but we want your help too.”

Crisafulli said in the video there is a stigma attached to addiction that must be overcome if the battle against the opioid crisis is to be won. He urged those facing addiction or loved ones of those facing addiction to reach out to his department and its allied agencies for help.

“Please do not hesitate to contact us in case of an emergency,” he said. “There is no shame in this battle and there is no shame in seeking help.”

To that end, Crisafulli said the sheriff’s department would be releasing a series of videos in the coming weeks to cast light on the crisis and urge those affected by it to find the resources they need. For example, the second video in the series entitled Hidden in Plain Sight takes viewers into a typical teenager’s bedroom and shows some of the warning signs parents should look for. Future videos will explore every aspect of the ongoing opioid crisis.

“Over the next few weeks, the forces of Worcester County, Md. will be coming together to show you what to watch out for in your homes and in your kids’ lives,” he said. “We are going to provide you with the tools you need to help us fight the opioid epidemic.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.