NOT MY CHILD—A Program For Every Family, Oct. 16 and 24

All families—no matter your income, ethnicity, neighborhood or any other demographic you can think of—have the potential to be caught up in the web of addiction. 

In response to the opioid addiction crisis griping both the state and county and recognizing that it had reached epidemic proportions, the Anne Arundel County Executive's Office of Constituent Services created the NOT MY CHILD program. NOT MY CHILD is an open discussion that since its inception has engaged thousands of county residents in an open converstaion regarding the use of drugs by children and adults in every community. NOT MY CHILD is a collaborative effort supported by multiple county agencies, non-profits and community members who work together to educate parents, families and communities on the impact of addiction on the individual, family and community. 

The program was created at the suggestion of a task force created to address the opiod epidemic. According to County Executive Steve Schuh, "The task force produced nearly 40 different recommendations that fell into three areas: law enforcement, recovery services and education. Under the leadership of Nancy Schrum, the "NOT MY CHILD" program emerged as our primary vehicle for educating the public about the dangers of opiates."

The program is held several times each month in varying locations around the county. Parents are encouraged to attend with their teenagers and the hope is that families will attend sooner rather than later. Implores Schuh, "While enforcement and recovery services are essential elements in combating this crisis, in the long run, we will only achieve victory through education so that people don't start using these drugs in the first place." 

The focus of NOT MY CHILD is to provide the facts regarding gateway drugs, the abuse of prescription drugs and how quickly and easily an addiction can escalate to heroin use. Opioids do not discriminate. The two-hour discussion provides the facts and provides families with the triggers and warning signs—as well as information on where to get help. Each event has panel members from throughout the community, including the following:

  • Parent of child in recovery or parent that has lost a child to an overdose
  • A young person in recovery
  • Prevention Specialist, Anne Arundel County Medical Center, Pathways
  • Environmental Health Educator, Anne Arundel County Health Department
  • Mobile Crisis, Anne Arundel Mental Health Agency
  • Anne Arundel County Police Department
  • Anne Arundel County Fire Department
  • State’s Attorney’s Office

Is the program working? The County Executive thinks so. "The program has been incredibly successful," says Shuh. "Over the years since its launch, public awareness has gone from virtually zero in 2014 to nearly universal today. Our NOT MY CHILD team has conducted over 100 presentations at schools, libraries and community halls throughout the County. The program has been heard by thousands of citizens."

If you would like to attend a NOT MY CHILD presentation, the following is a list of upcoming events:

10/16 Lake Shore Elementary School, Pasadena 6:30 pm
10/24 South River High School, Edgewater 6:30 pm

For more about the program, check out the “NOT MY CHILD” video and “NOT MY CHILD” Resource Directory

To schedule an event in your community or for additional information contact: Nancy Schrum, Director, Office of Constituent Services,
at (410) 222-1527; or exschr00@aacounty.org

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