Health experts recommend better education on drugs

Vincent Moreland, Sports Editor

A panel of health experts told AACC health and science professors schools are not doing enough to educate students about the negative effects of hard drug use.

Clay Stamp, the executive director of the Maryland Opioid Operational Command Center, said college health classes need to do a better job of educating their students about the dangers of using opioids and heroin.

Opioid and heroin use has been increasing since 2010, and became especially bad starting in 2012, according to Stamp.

“We’re in for the long haul here,” Stamp said. “We need to manage the expectations. We need to believe in a system of coordination that we set up in this state and this country and get behind it.”

In 2016, there were 756 overdoses in Anne Arundel County, and over 100 were fatal.

“We lost momentum,” Stamp said. “And when you lose momentum in teaching. … You have to reestablish [it] and that’s hard work.”

The “Not My Child” program is a program that informs communities about the abuse of prescription drugs and the increasing use of heroin in our area.

Frances Phillips, the Acting Health Officer for Anne Arundel County, said between 75 and 80 percent of overdose victims in the county first began their cycle of substance abuse with prescription pills.

“They did not go out in this county and start using heroin,” Phillips said. “They started by using pills. … Often, pills that were diverted from someone else.”

Elizabeth Appel, the Dean of the School of Health Sciences at AACC and one of the main organizers for this event, said the goal of the event was to educate health sciences faculty so they can better prepare their students to confront the opioid epidemic when they enter the workforce.

Appel said she would like to host an event for students to talk about opioid addiction.