Life Beyond High School

HC DrugFree staff and volunteers spoke to the senior class at Marriotts Ridge High School about making good choices, the impact drugs and alcohol can have on their future, and how to get help. Speakers were: HC DrugFree's Executive Director Joan Webb Scornaienchi, Max Allen, Kelly Granahan, and MRHS Assistant Principal Cameron Rahnama.

Celebrating the Life of Tyler Johnson

HC DrugFree staff was proud to nominate their much loved and missed volunteer, Tyler Johnson, for a Celebrating Successes Award through the Howard County Office of Children's Services. Tyler, who was killed in the tragic incident at The Mall in Columbia on January 25, freely shared his compelling story of addiction and recovery with youth and parents at HC DrugFree programs throughout the county. Tyler was committed to doing all he could to spare other youth from experiencing the pain of addiction. On April 30 at the Celebrating Successes Awards Ceremony, Howard and Nora Johnson, Tyler's parents, accepted the O'Donnell Family Award on behalf of Tyler. 

Drug Take Back Day

In conjunction with the DEA's semi-annual national Take Back Day, the Howard County Police Department staffed medication collection sites on Saturday, April 26 between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. 1,030 pounds were collected at the 10 Howard County drop off sites. At the HC DrugFree office in the Wilde Lake Village Center, HC DrugFree's executive director, board of directors, Teen Advisory Council and numerous volunteers wore bright green Mind Your Meds t-shirts donated by Brian Meshkin and Proove BioSciences with the message on the back: 3 times as  many people are addicted to prescription narcotics than all illegal narcotics combined. In addition to the medication collection, HC DrugFree's office collects needles, syringes, and EpiPens during these semi-annual events. Pictured are volunteers at the HC DrugFree office in the Wilde Lake Village Center drop off location and the 7 bags of prescription and over-the-counter medications as well as the boxes of needles, syringes, and EpiPens collected at the HC DrugFree office within 4 hours. The next Take Back Day will be held in the fall. HC DrugFree thanks HCPD for all they do throughout the year to keep the community safe!

Needles, Syringes, and EpiPens Collected for Disposal

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Masoomeh Khamesian, Director of Pharmacy at Howard County General Hospital and HC DrugFree board member, and Joan Webb Scornaienchi, HC DrugFree's Executive Director, organize the boxes and bags of needles, syringes and EpiPens collected at the HC DrugFree office on April 26. The hospital is partnering with HC DrugFree to provide this semi-annual community service. The next collection date will be announced in the fall of 2014.

NIDA Speaks to ADAAB

Susan Weiss, Ph.D., the Associate Director for Scientific Affairs at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and a senior science advisor to the NIDA Director, presented Marijuana Facts: State of the Science to the Howard County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Advisory Board (ADAAB) on Wednesday, April 16 at the Howard County Health Department. ADAAB Chair and HC DrugFree Executive Director Joan Webb Scornaienchi introduced Dr. Weiss who referred to marijuana as the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. with 1 out of 11 users becoming addicted; explained marijuana's acute effects on the brain including impaired memory decision-making, and increased risk of auto accidents; and discussed the association with poorer educational outcomes as well as diminished life satisfaction and decreased motivation by youth marijuana users. According to research, an estimated 9% of cannabis users (1 in 6 who start in adolescence and 25-50% of daily users) may become addicted. To learn more about marijuana and other drugs of abuse, visit NIDA's website at www.drugabuse.gov or visit NIDA's teen site at www.teens.drugabuse.gov.

Pictured: Police Chief William McMahon, HC DrugFree Executive Director and ADAAB Chair Joan Webb Scornaienchi, Health Officer Maura Rossman M.D., NIDA's Susan Weiss Ph.D., Howard County State's Attorney Dario Broccolino, and the Health Department's Director of Bureau of Behavioral Health Roe Rodgers-Bonaccoursy Ph.D.

Congressman Elijah Cummings Speaks to Wilde Lake Students and Faculty

HC DrugFree was pleased to partner with Wilde Lake High School in bringing Congressman Elijah Cummings to speak to the students and faculty on December 6th. Congressman Cummings challenged the students to find the "enemy of their destiny" and to ask themselves, "What will stop me from being all God made me to be?" Cummings identified two common enemies to the destinies of young people as the wrong friends and drugs. "If you want to be great, hang out with great people," he said, going on to say that sometimes people get into trouble by hanging out with the wrong kids. And taking drugs is chasing death, according to the Congressman, "Drugs are the enemy that throws them off their path." He begged each teen to look at the enemy of his or her destiny. If the enemy is friends, get new ones. If the enemy is drugs, address it. Shaping your destiny will impact not just your life, but your children and their children. This is bigger than you!

Pictured above: HC DrugFree Executive Director Joan Webb Scornaienchi, Wilde Lake High School student and HC DrugFree Teen Advisory Council member Juliana Kaiser, Congressman Elijah Cummings, and Wilde Lake High School Principal James LeMon.

Drug Take Back Day Nets 862 pounds of Medication

Howard County Police Department collected 862 pounds of medication, the largest amount collected in the county at a single Drug Take Back Day. Shown in the picture with the 4 large plastic bags of medication collected at the HC DrugFree site are HC DrugFree Executive Director Joan Webb Scornaienchi, Board of Education member Ellen Flynn Giles, Board of Education member and founder of Proove Biosciences Brian Meshkin, and the Howard County police officer assigned to the HC DrugFree location. For the Baltimore Sun article, click here.

Needles and Syringes Collected for Disposal

Masoomeh Khamesian, Director of Pharmacy at Howard County General Hospital and HC DrugFree board member, and Joan Webb Scornaienchi, HC DrugFree's Executive Director, sort through several boxes of needles, syringes and EpiPens collected by HC DrugFree on October 26. The hospital is partnering with HC DrugFree to provide this community service. HC DrugFree's next collection date will be announced in early 2014.