The Carroll County Health Department hosted a free community education program Wednesday at Carroll Community College focused on addiction issues and the community’s response to them.
Attendees at the “Make Recovery the Epidemic” event watched a screening of “Tipping the Pain Scale,” a documentary film about “grappling with the current systemic failures of how we have dealt with addiction in communities and their journey to develop and employ new and innovative solutions to the problem.”
The film features the story of Roz Pichardo, a community outreach volunteer, who attended the Wednesday session along with Brandee Izquierdo, executive director of SAFE Project, a group that works to “prevent fatal drug overdoses, and to otherwise mitigate substance use disorder’s impact on our society,” according to its website. Both spoke after the film and Izquierdo moderated a panel discussion.
Also during the event Westminster Police Chief Thomas Ledwell accepted the Harm Reduction Hero Award on behalf of his department. Westminster police were honored for their implementation of the Quick Response Team and the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion programs. The QRT consists of a case manager and a peer recovery specialist who respond to overdose calls to instantly connect victims of overdose with resources. LEAD is a community-based harm reduction program that is focused on reducing unnecessary justice system involvement for people with behavioral health and substance abuse issues using social workers and peers alongside or instead of law enforcement officers. Both programs focus on reducing harm and guiding individuals on the path to addiction recovery.