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Talbot County goes purple to raise awareness about the overdose epidemic

Posted: 12:21 PM, Sep 04, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-04 12:21:03-04

On June 16th, 1996, Bruce Strazza found his brother dead from an overdose.

"Man, things got different. They got difficult for me that day," explained Strazza.

Following his brother's path, Strazza found himself shortly after that an addict. 

"Started off with Percocet, then heroin. I have marks on my arms so, I have a daily reminder when I get out of the shower."

And that reminder motivates him to spread the message to the dangers of opioid addiction.

"The odds are better actually with Russian Roulette then what they are selling right now but, I get it. I know what it's like to be hooked that bad and not be the way you are," Strazza said.

Joe Gamble is the Talbot County Sheriff and he came up with an idea last year for the county to spread the message of the dangers of drugs and opioids. It's called Talbot Goes Purple.

They turn the town purple... literally.

Street lights have purple lights, businesses have purple storefronts, even the cop cars are purple. All this to get the word out about the dangers of drugs.

"It's really to raise awareness, spread the message, lock your prescriptions up. 80 percent of kids who get addicted to heroin, all the studies show that they first started from prescription medicines in a medicine cabinet," said Sheriff Gamble. 

While Talbot County is a rural county on the Eastern Shore, they are not void of problems you see in bigger cities.

If you look at the last year, the 2017 death numbers show 30 percent minorities and 70 percent Caucasian.

"This addiction and this death on the streets, anybody's available to it. It doesn't discriminate. Black, white, gay, straight I don't care. It is available to you too and it only takes one time," said Strazza.

And through this program Sheriff Gamble and Bruce Strazza hope "that one time" never happens.

"I don't know. There was nothing like this when I was a kid," Strazza said with hope.