Catherine Hollerbach: Anne Arundel libraries offer overdose training, help in opioid crisis

Libraries have always been in the forefront of recognizing the needs of the communities they serve and improving our quality of life. Anne Arundel County Public Library’s 15 locations welcome more than 2.5 million visitors a year giving us an amazing opportunity to make an impact.

In addition to the programs and resources we provide, library staff often serve as a lifeline for the disenfranchised and homeless. The current opioid epidemic has provided more opportunity for staff to connect with county residents and make a difference.

According to a July 25 article in The Capital, “Anne Arundel continues to see an uptick in opioid-related overdoses.” There have been 86 fatal overdoses and 569 nonfatal overdoses from the drug in the county so far this year, county police Capt. Herbert Hasenpusch said.

The library is proud to be a part of the Anne Arundel County Opioid Intervention Team, a group of community leaders who work in helping professions to address this epidemic.

In fact, libraries across the country are stepping up to be part of the solution to the crisis of addiction. It makes sense – libraries are a home away from home for all ages, a place where loitering is encouraged and air conditioning, electricity and traditional and digital entertainment is freely available to all. While the Anne Arundel County Public Library has not yet experienced the high frequency of overdoses that many other libraries are facing, we want to be prepared.

To educate county residents on addiction, we’ve hosted seven sessions of the Not My Child program, an initiative run out of the county executive’s office. Already, more than 250 residents have attended the library programs and additional programs are scheduled Aug. 23 at the Severna Park Community Library and Sept. 9 at the Riviera Beach Community Library, all starting at 6:30 p.m.

In the coming months, we are also offering public programs on how to recognize, prevent and…

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