As Frederick County children prepare to return to classes in September, county education leaders are working on programs that will educate students about substance abuse.

Frederick County Public Schools will include substance abuse awareness information during the orientation program for high school freshmen, and all county schools will have the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan in storage.

County Executive Jan Gardner highlighted the efforts — along with others discussed at meetings of the county’s Heroin Consortium — at a public information briefing on Thursday morning.

The Frederick County Health Department has a new program, called “Stay in the Know,” which focuses on substance abuse prevention and education; a website,, was recently launched. The program is related to the county’s award-winning “Take Back My Life” campaign, which featured testimony from local residents who have struggled with addiction issues.

Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, Frederick County health officer, also appeared at Thursday’s briefing to discuss a syringe services program, which is in the planning stages. Brookmyer said Frederick, along with six other counties, is soliciting community input about creating a program that would allow intravenous drug users to exchange used syringes for sterile ones, receive information about HIV and health concerns, and get access to medical testing.

Gardner said Thursday she would aim to advertise upcoming meetings of the Heroin Consortium — a group of law enforcement, education, health and community members — and upcoming meetings may be televised.

She encouraged community involvement in the efforts.

“I just really want people to know that we’re talking about all these things. And good ideas come from the public and the people,” Gardner said. “... Get involved. Become aware. Talk about it in your households. And bring us any new ideas that you have.”

For more information, including a listing of National Recovery Month events in September, go to or call 301-600-1755.

Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines​.

Danielle E. Gaines covers politics and government in Frederick County, splitting her time between Winchester Hall and The State House. Having grown up in Illinois, she lived in New York and California before settling in Maryland.

(1) comment


Thank you, Jan Gardner, Dr. Brookmyer and everyone at the County Health Department for your excellent work on this very serious problem.

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