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Press Release: NAMI Maryland, Worcester Goes Purple Join RALI Maryland to Help End Opioid Epidemic

For Immediate Release


Beth Levine

RALI Maryland


BALTIMORE – The Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) Maryland has welcomed the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Maryland and Worcester Goes Purple to its alliance of more than two dozen local, state and national organizations working to address the opioid crisis.

RALI Maryland is a diverse coalition of community, business and faith leaders, health care stakeholders, and first responders. The alliance helps bring people and organizations together to share, learn and work across community boundaries to address the opioid epidemic. RALI Maryland supports programs that help save lives, mobilizes stakeholders to educate communities, and distributes informational materials to Marylanders to help end the crisis.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the state, and especially those with substance use disorders and mental illness, RALI Maryland has been working to educate communities that resources are still available for those who need them. The alliance created a digital media and public service announcement campaign to remind people that “Recovery is Essential” and even though it may look different, help is available for those in need to continue their recovery. The normal stress of recovery is compounded with COVID-19 due to lost jobs, difficulty making ends meet, and lack of important face-to-face interaction that those in recovery need.

“The pandemic is now playing a central role in our lives and, as a result, our mental health could begin to waiver and bad habits could creep back in. NAMI Maryland and our local organizations are here to help people get through these unprecedented times,” said Kate Farinholt, executive director of NAMI Maryland. “We are happy to join RALI Maryland to keep educating our fellow Marylanders about the help that’s available for those who are struggling.”

“We are seeing an increasing number of people who need help as their recovery from substance use disorder starts to slide. With two public health epidemics playing havoc on our state, those numbers are likely to grow. More education, assistance and volunteers will be needed to stem the tide,” said Deborah Smullen, executive director of Worcester Goes Purple. “RALI Maryland has been a tremendous help to our area over the last year and we are pleased to join the coalition.”

In 2018, more than 2,000 Maryland residents lost their lives due to an opioid-related overdose, according to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. U.S. and Maryland public health officials are concerned that the coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a recent spike in overdose deaths. New legislation enacted just this year allowed for several telehealth options to make treatment easier, and Maryland’s 2-1-1 hotline is available 24 hours a day for anybody who needs help.

NAMI Maryland is the NAMI state organization in Maryland of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI Maryland provides educational resources and events, statewide outreach, advocacy and affiliate organizational support.

Worcester Goes Purple is an awareness project to engage the community in preventing substance abuse and promoting healthy life choices. The project is inspired by the THP Project Purple, an initiative of The Herren Project, a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation established by former NBA basketball player, Chris Herren, that assists individuals and families struggling with addiction.

The Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) of Maryland is a diverse alliance of more than two dozen local, state, and national organizations committed to finding solutions to help end the opioid crisis in Maryland. The organization is bringing people and organizations together to share, learn, and work across community boundaries to help save lives, mobilize stakeholders, and provide resources. More information is available at RALI Maryland partners include:

  • Beloved Community Services Corporation

  • Cecil County Community Drug Coalition

  • Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America

  • Hospice & Palliative Care Network of Maryland

  • Maryland Association of Chain Drug Stores

  • Maryland Chamber of Commerce

  • Maryland Fraternal Order of Police

  • Maryland Hospital Association

  • Maryland Patient Safety Center

  • Maryland Pharmacists Association

  • Maryland REALTORS

  • Maryland Rural Health Association

  • Maryland Sheriffs’ Association/Maryland Chiefs of Police

  • Maryland State Grange

  • MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness Maryland

  • National Black Nurses Association

  • National Consumers League

  • National Sheriffs’ Association

  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

  • Professional Firefighters of Maryland

  • Union Baptist Church

  • University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security

  • Veterans Health Council

  • Vets Against Drugs

  • Vietnam Veterans of America

  • Worcester Goes Purple


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