Community Leaders in Maryland Meet to Take Action Against Addiction
Mayor Jake Day tells WRDE that Salisbury has a program called COAT (Community Outreach Addictions Team), where recovery specialists go to areas where people are using drugs to speak with them and help them recover.
Mayor Day says Salisbury could also be making Safe Stations, places where people could drop off illegal drugs and get help with recovery, without being penalized for having illegal substances. The Safe Stations would be located at police and fire halls. Mayor Day says Safe Stations have been successful in the City of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County.
At the symposium event, people use their phones to take a survey about the opioid crisis. The survey shows that 80% of people participating know someone who has died from addiction or drug use, and 79% think there are not adequate services on the lower shore to help with the opioid/heroin crisis.
Beth Ohlsson helped put the Regional Opioid and Addiction Coalition Symposium together. It's held at Salisbury University's new Academic Commons because the space is big enough for the event's crowd and serves as a nice meeting area for the community.
Ohlsson is the co-chair of the START task force (substance treatment and abuse reduction team) created by Mayor Day. Ohlsson tells WRDE her biggest wish:
"If I could have one wish on the planet it would be to get rid of the shame and the stigma associated with addiction. Because the shame of addiction spills onto recovery and that's why people are so afraid to ask for help. So afraid to ask for help. And part of what we're about is dispelling the shame and the stigma of addiction. I am a person of long-term recovery. I have been sober for 26 years. You can do it. If I can do it, you can do it," says Ohlsson.