What is the impact of drugs in Garrett County? Almost half of the inmates at the Garrett County Detention Center are there because of drug activity. In fiscal year 2018, there were 96 children in foster care in Garrett County, and substance abuse was a contributing factor in 80% of those cases. There were 32 infants born in Garrett County in 2018 that were substance affected.

“Drug use doesn’t just impact the user. It impacts the parents of the user, the children of the user, the school system, the foster care system, the health care system, the judicial system, the housing and transportation systems, etc.,” said Brian Murray, community chair of the Drug-Free Communities Coalition Action Team. “We’re committed to reversing the trends of drug use by supporting prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery.”

The Garrett County Drug-Free Communities Coalition (DFCC) Action Team is a group of passionate community members that meets monthly to work on the issues related to opioid misuse, alcohol abuse, marijuana misuse, meth use, and tobacco use. The volunteers help coordinate town hall meetings, work at health fairs, assist with presentations for school and community groups, conduct scans at festivals and tobacco and alcohol retail outlets, and attend conferences and workshops to stay current on drug-related trends that affect Garrett County.

Each meeting of the DFCC Action Team includes a brief guest presentation followed by small group work to plan for upcoming events and activities. Future meetings are as follows:

  • Tuesday, April 9 at Garrett Information Enterprise Center at Garrett College; guest speaker Martha Ruffin, Bloomberg Johns Hopkins School of Public Health talking about Local Alcohol Policy
  • Wednesday, May 15 at Garrett County Health Department; guest speakers Teresa Friend, Karen Hershfeld, Lisa Thayer Welch, and Sadie Liller with a report out on the National Heroin and Prescription Drug Summit

Community volunteers who want to be a part of not just planning, but doing the work that will help protect our youth from the consequences of substance use are invited to participate on the DFCC Action Team.  Attend a meeting or call Brenda Sisler or Kendra McLaughlin at the health department at 301-334-7730 or 301-895-3111 for more information.