Montgomery County officials introduce COPE, an opioid prevention tool

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM)– Montgomery County officials and residents gathered at the executive building Monday to introduce the county’s new opioid prevention trailer called COPE.

“Over 5 deaths a day are happening in Maryland from opioid overdoses,” said Montgomery County Council President Sidney Katz.

In an effort to combat the opioid epidemic, the Community Opioid Prevention Education trailer, also known as COPE, is designed to educate the community about ways their loved ones could be hiding drugs in their bedroom.

“Search Hunt looks like it’s your house and your space. You can go anywhere you want, and look at anything you want, and don’t be afraid to ask questions,” said resident Leslie Harbough.

Leslie Harbough lost her daughter to opioids in 2018 and is a part of an organization called SOUL, Surviving Our Ultimate Loss. This group is made up of Montgomery County mothers who have lost their loved ones to drugs.

“It doesn’t get any easier, any day, and I hate seeing new members join our group. I think education is going to change a lot of things for the better,” said Harbough.

The mock bedroom and bathroom in the trailer represent an average home. During the tour, residents learn about the different types of controlled substances, what they are, how they are used, and how dangerous they can be.

“The message we’re trying to get across is we’re not looking for a big bag of drugs we’re looking for this,” said police Captain McBain as he shows a small bag of fentanyl hiding inside a hairbrush.

Mock bag of fentanyl

This is a mock bag of fentanyl used in the simulation, it’s a deadly opioid pain medication. Officers say this small amount alone can cause an overdose.

“If you go through your child or loved one’s bathroom or bedroom you can find things that are tell-tale signs that we need to help that person get themselves back in a better situation and that’s exactly what that trailer shows,” said Council President Katz.

Officials say they plan to implement this trailer throughout the county at local events to spread awareness about substance abuse before it’s too late.

According to officials the next stop for the trailer will be at police headquarters in Gaithersburg on February 20th.

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