As the number of opioid overdose deaths in the county approaches last year’s total, the St. Mary’s County Health Department has been offering free opioid overdose response trainings at the health department and county libraries over the past few years.

The health department’s Overdose Response Program has been running training sessions since late 2014, in which participants learn how to administer naloxone, a life-saving drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose by blocking the effects of opioids on the brain and by restoring breathing, according to Maryellen Kraese, behavioral health prevention and outreach supervisor for the county health department.

Kraese said in an email that naloxone “will only work if a person has opiates in their system,” and that it “is safe for practically anyone to use.”

More recently, the county health department has been running pop-up training sessions in the county, often at libraries since 2017.

Naloxone can be prescribed to anybody who may be at risk of an opioid overdose or in a position to assist somebody experiencing an overdose per a standing order by Dr. Jinlene Chan, the Maryland Department of Health’s assistant secretary.

According to Kraese, the statewide overdose response program was launched to first train individuals “who are most able to assist someone at risk of dying from an opioid overdose,” including “people who use drugs, their family members and friends; treatment program and transitional housing staff; and law enforcement officers.”

Every first responder in the county is trained to administer naloxone in the event of an overdose.

The sheriff’s office reports that 42 lives have been saved by naloxone so far this year, close to last year’s 46, according a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office.

According to the county health department, 27 people died from opioid-related drug overdoses in the county last year. Although the health department does not have official numbers this year, the sheriff’s office was involved in 22 total overdose deaths this year.

Health department staff will be running an opioid response training at the Charlotte Hall library on Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to noon, and at the health department’s headquarters in Leonardtown from 6 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 11 and Jan. 7.

Group training sessions can be scheduled by calling the Overdose Response Program at 301-475-6806.

Participants will receive free naloxone at the completion of the training session.

Lexington Park library opening photography show

The Lexington Park library’s art gallery, coordinated by the St. Mary’s County Arts Council, will open its show “Out N’ About St. Mary’s County” on Sunday, Dec. 1. The photography exhibit features works snapped while “out and about” in the county by Jenn Dorsey, Jeremy Scarbrough, Daniel Mumbert, Wednesday Davis and Drew Hyde.

And, on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the library there will be an artists’ reception featuring the five photographers.

School board to meet with county commissioners

There will be a joint meeting of the St. Mary’s board of education and the St. Mary’s commissioners on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at approximately 9 a.m. in the Chesapeake Building at the governmental center in Leonardtown.

In addition, the school board will hold a special meeting earlier on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 8 a.m. in the board of education meeting room at 23160 Moakley St. in Leonardtown. Call 301-475-5511, ext. 32177.

Charter school application lottery opens next week

The Chesapeake Public Charter School’s 2020-2021 application period opens on Monday, Dec. 2, at 10 a.m. Interested families must fill out an application at cpcsapplication.com by midnight on Dec. 31. Informational sessions will be held at the CPCS gym at 5 p.m. on Dec. 3, and at 6 p.m. on Dec. 5, at the school on Great Mills Road in Lexington Park.

The lottery will be run at the end of January 2020. For more information, contact the school’s main office at 301-863-9585, ext. 0.

Belmont Farm open for holiday shopping

The Belmont Farm in Clements will be hosting a holiday shopping event on Sunday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The farm will have local crafters and vendors, as well as stuffed ham sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches and macaroni shrimp salad from Rita B. Catering.

The farm is also partnering with St. Mary’s Helping Hands Food Pantry, and will be collecting donations of toiletries and nonperishable food items.

Tour homes while helping others

The Health Share Holiday Home Tour will be held on Sunday, Dec. 8, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at seven homes in Leonardtown. Cost is $50 for the entire tour or $10 per home, and proceeds benefit St. Mary’s Health Share. For more information, contact Sheryl Tart at 301-904-2801 or visit www.healthshareofstmarys.com.

Enjoy hot cocoa with Santa Claus

From noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa with Santa at Last Drop Country Bar in Hollywood. Admission is one donation to Toys for Tots, or a canned food item to donate to a local food pantry. Hoot Studio photography will be present to provide professional photo sessions; slide them a DM on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hootstudiophotography to book a time slot and for pricing inquiries.

Arc of Southern Md. ready to take part in Giving Tuesday

Throughout the month, the Arc of Southern Maryland has held a series of charitable giving “TuesdayS” leading up to Giving Tuesday, a charitable giving holiday held the Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This year, The Arc of Southern Maryland has been accepting gifts to fund Christmas Eve dinners, abuse and neglect training for staff and an awning to keep members dry while loading and unloading vans, according to a release from The Arc. As of press time, The Arc had collected over $5,000 of its $20,000 goal.

DNR solicits posters to mark Arbor Day

All Maryland fifth-graders are invited to participate in the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and Forest Conservancy District Boards to participate in its annual Arbor Day Poster Contest.

This coming year’s theme is “Trees are Terrific … in All Four Seasons!” Posters must be no smaller than 8½ by 11 inches, no larger than 22 by 28 inches and must be drawn in acrylic, crayon, ink, marker, paint pens, regular or colored pencil, tempera paint or watercolor.

Posters must be delivered to a local Maryland Forest Service office by noon on Jan. 17, 2020. Posters will be judged at a county level and then submitted to compete statewide. The top three posters will win tree plantings at their school. Contact Anne Gilbert at 410-260-8510 or anne.gilbert@maryland.gov.Twitter: @DanEntNews

Twitter: @DanEntNews