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Officials and Community Fight Against Drug Abuse in Frederick County

Officials in Frederick County, Maryland met Friday to kick off a Drug Awareness Campaign.

FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. - Kathy Richison is one mother with one mission since her son Jesse died.

"My son died on January 16, 2013. Don't let your kids die because you're too blind to see what's right in front of you," said Kathy Richison of Frederick.

Richison is certainly not alone.

"My son was addicted to opiates and took his life in 2010. I was very uneducated and I thought I need to figure this out because it wasn't too long after his best friend died," said Annette Hanlin-Cooney of Frederick.

Kathy is part of Bikers against Heroin, and Annette helped start Parents against Prescription Drugs. Many groups have formed in Frederick County, Md. to raise awareness about drug abuse, and now local officials are partnering up to bring the whole community together to help reduce drug abuse. The initiative has local law enforcement agencies, the Health Department and Frederick County Public Schools working together to help raise awareness about drugs.

"The spike in the sale and use of narcotics, I don't think I've seen in my 24 years in law enforcement," said Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. 

Police are fighting against it, just this week they executed a search warrant at a drug bust, but the numbers are still alarming.

In 2012 alone, there were 25 fatal over doses in Frederick County, Maryland. Officials say 23 of those deaths were from opiates. The Frederick County Sheriff's Office says in the last year alone, they've seen a 300 percent increase in the number of heroin related calls.

Officials will host community events in January through April to raise awareness, and are encouraging parents to listen up.

"What to do if your child is in a crisis situation, and then we started talking about what to do to help parents become aware of the situation before it turns into a crisis situation, which is what this group is," said Frederick County Delegate Kelly Schulz. 

Richison and Annette say they're happy to see the county working together and hope other families won't have to feel what they now have to live with everyday, without their sons.

Drug Awareness Events will be held on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. at Middletown High School on January 29, Gov. Thomas Johnson High School on February 19, Brunswick High School on March 19, and Oakdale High School April 23, 2014.

There is also a drug abuse awareness poster contest. It’s being held through January 15, and all Frederick County students are eligible to participate. The first prize winner will take home two tickets to Whitetail Resort, and second and third place will receive a free catered graduation or end of the year party from famous Dave’s of America. For more information, head to FCPS

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