CUMBERLAND, Md. (WDVM) — Allegany College of Maryland will continue tackling the root of the opioid epidemic thanks to a grant from the Maryland Opioid Operational Command Center.
This is Allegany College’s second year receiving their grant after their first year’s plans were interrupted by COVID-19. They said they will be moving future workshops and programs online via Zoom until restrictions are lifted.
“We’ve had so many miracles along this path that have led us to where we are today, and I think being able to offer this model to people via Zoom during COVID is just one more,” said Kathy Condor, director of Health and Human Services at ACM.
“The overall idea is to create a culture of resiliency and wellness that addresses the underlying issues that contribute to the opioid epidemic,” said Cherie Snyder, a professor, and program director.
These programs focus on wellness and prevention by using breathing techniques and other calming techniques to ease anxiety and stress, two factors that can play a large role in addiction.
Snyder said, “And there’s no stigma attached, that’s the beautiful thing. Stigma is one of the issues certainly in opioid addiction, but this is a wellness approach. Anybody can be using this.”
“By spending that two hours on self-care, they have more energy, they’re less stressed, the other things in their life don’t feel as overwhelming as they did before they started that training. I think it’s just a beautiful opportunity,” Condor said.
This program targets the entire community and has expanded to include community colleges across Maryland. Condor said that the option of Zoom has helped the program in many ways, including reaching more people.
“What we have found is that the online delivery in no way dilutes the power of these groups, and in fact, I think because of COVID and because people are craving that connection, that it’s become a more powerful opportunity,” she stated.
This program has brought ones with similar approaches elsewhere and inspired many others to receive the same training.
“I think that’s something I really want our community here to know. How special we really are, and that we are a beacon of light, and we’re doing something for our community that’s not being done someplace else,” Snyder said.
This program is open to anyone in Maryland. Their workshops will be free due to the grant’s funding. More information can be found here.