Summer blockbusters will have a sobering start in Harford County. Public service announcements featuring children who have lost a loved one to heroin will air in all county movie theaters July through September.
“It affects your family, it affects your whole life, your future, your career,” says 15-year-old Alayna Beck in one of the PSAs. Beck and 12-year-old Jade Buddenbohn both lost their cousin to an overdose in December 2015.
“A lot of families lose people every day from addiction and overdoses,” said Buddenbohn. “Especially because it happened to our own family,” Beck said.
Three PSAs were produced by Harford County Executive Barry Glassman’s administration as part of their multi-faceted approach in addressing the national heroin epidemic affecting Harford County.
“It really represents our effort to show that our battle against heroin addiction does not take a summer break,” Glassman said.
Twenty-seven people in the county died from overdoses last year. Currently, the county is on track to beat that. So far, 18 people have died from overdoses this year.
“I don't pretend that this battle is going to be easy to win. In fact, we see these numbers and I always tell folks we're treading water. We're making some progress, and through treatment, prevention, and enforcement, we can make a difference and hold back the tide, but we're in a difficult battle,” Glassman said.
The other PSAs feature children ranging from 8 to 18-years-old. It wasn’t easy for them speak about what they've gone through, but they’re doing it so others won't have to experience a similar reality.
“If it comes from your peers than it's more powerful,” Beck said.
Glassman’s office estimates that 131,000 moviegoers will see the PSAs. They’ll also be posted online, here.