by Lisa Tome
Their message couldn't have been more timely.
April Foster from STEPS Recovery Resources and Lorri Irrgang from Let's Get Real, LLC teamed up last week for a presentation at Rising Sun's Maple Heights Apartment complex. The pair, both of whom provide support and addiction resources, were at the complex teaching children and parents the dangers of alcohol and drugs.
In 2017, there have been 337 reported overdoses in Cecil County. Nearly two dozen of those occurred in the Rising Sun area.
There were 201 in Elkton, 104 in North East, 25 in Perryville, 20 in Port Deposit
seven in Chesapeake City, and five in Warwick.
During September 2017, 30 fatal overdoses left 33 children orphaned by at least one parent.
Foster said her mission while talking to children was to facilitate better communication between parents and children.
"Most kids start using between the ages of 12 and 14. We need to educate the parents," said Irrgang. Irrgang also said that she wanted to educate parents about possible signs that their child is using. "They don't even realize what they are seeing is something (drug use related)," said Irrgang.
The two women were armed with the latest up to the minute drug statistics and key words that children and teens use to keep parents unaware of what is going on.
One of the activities for the children was to try on special eyeglasses - Drunk and Dangerous glasses - which simulated what it was like to be impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Joey Weaver, 12, tried on the glasses. "I feel dizzy," said Weaver. Ezra Istavan, also 12, had a similar experience. "I feel delusional," said Istvan. Foster was also teaching the youths the dangers of alcohol, methamphetamine, marijuana, and heroin - the most commonly used drugs locally. And specifically the deadly fentanyl and carfentanil. "This is not doing bubble gum in church. They will die if they do this," said Irrgang.
There are new drugs on the market caffeine powder, spray caffeine, and powdered alcoholic beverages, Foster and Irrgang also provided education about those.