HC DrugFree on WMAR Baltimore News

HC DrugFree’s Medication & Sharps Disposal event was featured on WMAR Baltimore. Watch the news segment here.

Local non-profit helping to chip away at drug abuse in Howard County

COLUMBIA, Md. — Giving away your old prescriptions this weekend might go a long way.

From 10am to 2pm Saturday in Howard County, you can bring prescription drugs to a safe location, to be safely thrown away.

Volunteers for a drug prevention group – HC Drug Free – will take back medication and sharps, including needles and Epipens, and safely get rid of them.

HC DrugFree is a nonprofit which finds its roots in the 1990s – when a group of school staff tried getting kids on the right path.

Joan Webb Scornaienchi leads the nonprofit now – and tells WMAR their handiwork is essentially twofold: fostering a community without the harmful effects of drugs, and safely taking medication from families after loved ones pass away.

The county’s numbers from last year are concerning. In February, the county’s health officer told WMAR there was an increase in fatal overdoses – up 60 percent between 2021 and 2022.

Scornaienchi says a lot of the solution starts with building awareness.

“I think the first thing is to just keep educating,” said Scornaienchi, “that anything and everything can have fentanyl in it, and you just don’t know.”

The group works closely with young people; they have a teen advisory council and community service opportunities.
Some alumni are scheduled to volunteer Saturday.

“Everything we invest into them now,” added Scornaienchi, “we really believe we will get back in many ways in many years.”

The nonprofit lists major donors as the Howard County government and health department. They also take private donations.

Saturday, April 22 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

Jack Watson, WMAR Baltimore

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