Billboard Tallies Overdose Deaths in Charles County - NBC4 Washington

Billboard Tallies Overdose Deaths in Charles County

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    A billboard in Charles County has a bold message about opioid deaths and overdoses in the Maryland county. News4's Chris Gordon reports. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017)

    An alarming billboard is now on display in Charles County, Maryland: it tallies the number of people who have overdosed on opioids and heroin in 2017 thus far. 

    "Overdoses 219 YTD

    Lives Lost   27   YTD

    Lives Saved 83  YTD," the billboard said on Wednesday. 

    The bold, black lettering of the life-and-death tally is clearly visible from Crain Highway so anyone passing by can see the statistics representing people's lives.

    "We put the sign out here to spark conversation between the children and their parents. And also in regards to our community leaders, to have a conversation about prevention of individuals getting on opiates," Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry said. 

    "It was very scary because the number's going up. People around you are dying. You know, I just prayed every night that he didn't come home that he was still alive," said Marnie Grove.

    Grove says her son Ryan used heroin on and off for a long time before checking himself into a long-term rehabilitation facility. Now he's sober and she helps educate parents by speaking at support groups.

    "When someone's a heroin addict you could kiss him goodbye that morning and never see him again. It's a very frightening thing as a parent," Grove said.

    The Charles County health department is training people to use Narcan, the drug used to reverse overdoses and save lives.