Anne Arundel County hosts forum on heroin addiction

Posted at 5:57 PM, Dec 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-14 14:53:41-05

Anne Arundel County ranks third in the state for fatal heroin overdoses.

That's part of the reason the county's Department of Health and law enforcement agencies are having a panel discussion for the public Tuesday evening.

Opioid and heroin abuse will be the topic of discussion.

A panel of experts and those affected by opioid and heroin addiction will be on hand to share their experiences and to answer questions from the public.

"Anne Arundel County is the third highest in opioid overdoses in the state and we are also getting worse at a rate that is rather alarming," Sandy Smolnicky said. 

Smolnicky is on that panel. She and the Department of Health has seen the number of opioid overdoses go through the roof. In 2015, the county had close to 360 overdoses reported, by the end of this year that number could be close to 900.  Her goal is to make the public aware of the heroin problem.

"By educating the public, educating students early and getting communities involved. Anyone is invited to the meeting," she said.

Smolnicky says in the past these meetings have been intense.

"They attract parents who may have little children at home who look ahead and say "I'm scared to death, what do I do, what do I look for." So parents come forward, they are asking us questions about what are the signs and symptoms and so those of us who have had experiences in our family... we are really trying to prevent this," she said.

Heroin use brings with it crime and with the homicides in Annapolis at record numbers, and that's something Annapolis Police are all too familiar with.

"Heroin has caused an upswing in violence in Annapolis. It's important for us to do what we can through education as well as our job, arresting people to help with the heroin problem in this county," said Cpl. Amy Miguez, spokeswoman for the Annapolis Police.

"The more we educate the community and tell them what the resources are, we'll be their to help... we'll go anywhere," Smolnicky said.

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