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The Aegis: Community is key in addiction battle in Harford, panel members say

By David Anderson

Volunteer Sandy Hartsock guided visitors Trish Orndorff and David Woods through the Harford County Sheriff’s Office HOPE House trailer, showing them how everyday objects in the home can be converted into hiding places for drugs or weapons.

Hairbrushes, deodorant containers, hairspray cans, lamp bases, even D-cell batteries can be used to hide drugs and drug paraphernalia. Hartsock showed the pair how a small revolver can be hidden inside a pillow, and a parent who comes into their child’s room to fluff the pillow is none the wiser.

The HOPE trailer was parked on Wednesday evening outside Mountain Christian Church’s Abingdon campus, behind the Boulevard at Box Hill shopping center. It was there as part of an event hosted by the church and Harford County’s four Rotary clubs — Aberdeen, Bel Air, Havre de Grace and southern Harford — to bring the community together to discuss Harford’s deadly opioid crisis and ongoing efforts to solve it.

Don Mathis, board president for Addiction Connection Resources and a member of the Havre de Grace Rotary, moderated two panel discussions at the church. He said about 80 people attended.

Rotary is an international community service organization, with 1.2 million members and more than 35,000 clubs worldwide, according to its website. Mathis said focusing on how the organization can help in the opiod crisis is a priority for Rotary organizations throughout Maryland.

“There is reason for hope in spite of the escalating number of overdoses and the drug crisis ... and that what makes a difference is when community people come together to find a solution,” Mathis said.

Two hundred people have died from drug overdoses in Harford County since the Sheriff’s Office began recording fatal and non-fatal overdoses, displaying weekly tallies on message boards outside its facilities, in 2015...

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