Dorchester County is joining all the Counties on the Eastern Shore this September by going purple to raise awareness of the ever-increasing opioid epidemic.
Talbot County led the way last year as the first county on the shore to go purple. The project was spearheaded by Lucie Hughes, then the President of the Tidewater Rotary Club and Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble. The project got broad engagement throughout Talbot County. The effort is based on a program created by the Herren Project and is best describe by this excerpt from their website:
“THP Project Purple is an initiative of The Herren Project, a non-profit foundation established by former NBA basketball player, Chris Herren that assists individuals and families struggling with addiction. The THP Project Purple initiative was launched to break the stigma of addiction, bring awareness to the dangers of substance abuse and encourage positive decision making to navigate life’s challenges.”
Each group that takes on the effort of Going Purple defines their goals and programs a little differently but ultimately the primary objective is to increase awareness. The goal of the program in Dorchester is quite simple but also very challenging at the same time. We want to increase awareness across all facets of our County’s population, from elementary school aged students to retirees that are set to enjoy their golden years. This is important as this problem knows no age, race, geographical, social, education level or financial status boundary. Everyone is at risk for being affected by this epidemic, either by struggling directly with an addiction, being the loved one of someone struggling or being the employer of someone struggling.
Our tag line is “Awareness Starts at Home”. Home can take on a lot of different meanings in this context. It can be the literal meaning of the structure within which one lives (house, apartment, etc). It can be a more general reference to the town/community in which you were born, or you have resided for a long time. It can be a headquarters or home base for operations. It can be an institution that cares for people. It can be a place of business. For purposes of this project home is all of these things.
We want to turn all the “Homes” defined above purple acknowledging their awareness. This is a joint effort being led by the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce and the Dorchester County Sheriff James Phillips with the help of many organizations that have been engaged in the fight against this problem for a long time. Under the leadership of our Chairman, Mike Starling of WHCP Radio, we will be providing education options for all facets of the community in varying formats from in person presentations to printed literature to on line content. Once you have reviewed the material and increased your awareness the ask is for you to turn your “home” purple: it can be purple lights, purple signs, purple plants, purple food, purple clothes, purple stickers on your vehicles, etc – just make it purple.
We want to see the entire County in Purple by the end of September.
Going Purple is a community wide initiative. The committee members listed above are here as a resource to help you as you plan your awareness efforts. Please contact us with any questions or suggestions.