5 Area Residents Attend Cecilton Recovery Town Hall

15 people supported the Recovery Town Hall on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at the Cecilton Community Center.  5 residents of the area, including Crystal Beach and Earleville, were in attendance.  Although there were no town officials, first responders or safety officers present, citizens from around the County attended to show their support of our neighbors south of the Canal.

Local treatment representatives were Mike Massuli, Deputy Director of the Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center at the Cecil County Health Department and Patrick Webb, a Peer Recovery Advocate at ADRC.  Two employees from Recovery Centers of America (RCA) attended:  a driver in recovery and a Recovery Support Specialist, along with an alumni from RCA.  Lorri Irgang from Maryland Coalition of Families was also in attendance.  Two members from the Cecil County Progressive Caucus who support recovery were participants as well.  A mother who lost her daughter to overdose in Earleville attended along with the residents of the area.  People in recovery/sobriety and our supporters made up this Recovery Town Hall.

The group discussed the most current overdose fatality statistics available:  out of the 35 overdose deaths in Cecil County this year, 6 are from this remote area (1 from Cecilton, 5 from Earleville).  Recognized barriers to recovery are a lack of transportation to treatment and supports, zero 12-step meetings south of the Canal and no recovery housing.  Finding childcare while the parent/caregiver attends treatment is also a barrier that was discussed.  Online support meetings are not easily accessible in this area where wifi can be very spotty.

Solutions involved coordinating efforts to take interested people to meetings in Middletown, Delaware through Cecil Transit.  A resident talked about how this is currently a practice for seniors in this area getting their prescriptions filled.  Another solution is to approach RCA and ask for support with providing a place for recovery support meetings to occur regularly.  We talked about how and who to proceed with these solutions.

Mike Massuli trained 5 residents to administer Narcan.

Our next Recovery Town Hall Meeting will be held in Rising Sun, MD.  Always on the second Wednesday of each month.  Please join us and be a part of the solution in Cecil County!

26 Trained to be VoH Recovery Volunteers

26 people who support recovery attended the free Recovery Volunteer Training on June 9, 2018 at the Susquehanna Workforce Center in Elkton, Maryland.  Attendees were introduced to a brief overview of harm reduction, trauma-informed care and addiction and mental health resources in Cecil County.  Also discussed are the barriers that many in our community face in regard to access to and coordination of care, family preservation and lack of accessible shelters in Cecil County.

Participants were offered Narcan training and medication by the Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center at the Cecil County Health Department.

These volunteers were invited to take part in Voices of Hope Outreach Teams that will be engaging with the community in various settings:

  • Homeless Outreach
  • Backpack Outreach
  • Overdose Response Team
  • Overdose Death Compassion Team

If you are interested in participating in any of these efforts, or volunteering your talent in another way (administration, marketing, training, fundraising, etc) please email voicesofhope414@gmail.com




Over 250 people Attend Voices of Hope Recovery Memorial Day Picnic

People in recovery, family members and allies came together on May 28, 2018 to honor our fallen service men and women and to celebrate our freedom.  RYD Entertainment played music until Gunsmoke headlined at 1:30 pm.  People played flag football, tug-of-war and corn hole while children played in the moon bounce and got their faces painted among bubbles blowing in the air.  There were raffles and prizes for the smallest and biggest fish of the fishing tournament.  Free chair massages were offered and an introduction to yoga session offered a peace break during the afternoon.

Winner of Tug of War:  The Anonymous Team

Winner of Biggest Fish:  Carter DeStafano

Winner of Smallest Fish:  Sean Martineau

Best of all, we made new friends, spent time with old ones and strengthened our alliances to build our recovery capital in Cecil County!  Thank you to everyone who made this celebration possible, we could not do it without you.  Here are just a few special moments:

3 People from Port Deposit Attend 1st Recovery Town Hall

Voices of Hope hosted the first of the Cecil County Recovery Town Hall series in Port Deposit on Wednesday, May 9, 2018.  19 people attended, with 3 from Port Deposit.  There were no Town Administrators or Officials, no Cecil County treatment providers, no churches or organizations from Port Deposit present.  The three people from Port Deposit in attendance represented recovery in the area.  No families or individuals came seeking addiction treatment, support or requested Narcan training or medication.

Perhaps the low attendance was poor publicity on our part.  We promoted on social media, through the newspapers and posted throughout the town.  Or maybe this could be a positive indication of the health and wellness of this small town of 767 people (2016).  However, Raymond Lynn, Cecil County Heroin Coordinator, presented statistics at the meeting that suggest caution.  He said of the updated 600 overdoses in Cecil County in 2017, 80 were fatal.  About 15% of the total were from the Port Deposit area.  That percentage from Port Deposit is remaining the same so far in 2018.   There has been a total 200 Cecil County overdoses and 20 fatal to date.  Mr. Lynn also reported that the average age of the County’s overdoses this year is 22, from about age 35 last year.  Sadly, 21 Cecil County children have lost a parent to overdose so far in 2018.

Those also in attendance were core Voices of Hope members: people in recovery, family members and recovery supporters of Cecil County.  We ended the meeting by strengthening our resolve to keep working to bring recovery treatment and support to individuals and families struggling in Cecil County.  Healing Hearts, the Overdose Death Grief Support Group, was present and talked about their mission.  Mike Massuli, Clinical Director of the Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center at the Cecil County Health Department, presented resources and Narcan training for anyone interested.  Also present was Maryland Circuit Court Judge Will Davis, Assistant State’s Attorney Amanda Bessicks and Maryland House of Delegates candidate Jobeth Rocky Bowers.  Thank you all for your support.

We hope that our next Recovery Town Hall in Cecilton on June 13 is also a success and more local resources represented.  We appreciate the time and energy of all our Recovery Supporters.  Cecil County is caught in an addiction epidemic, we will not lay down and let our community die easy.  We will fight to save our families.


Voices of Hope Gratitude Banquet 2018

On Saturday, March 10, 2018, Voices of Hope hosted a banquet to express our gratitude for all of the Cecil County First Responders who administered Narcan and first aid to individuals experiencing an overdose in 2017.  This event was sold out beyond capacity.  In attendance were first responders, public safety officers, politicians and town officials, small business owners, treatment providers, people in recovery, family members and recovery supporters.

A recorded 587 people experienced an overdose in 2017 in Cecil County.  71 were fatal.  We credit our first responders and the increased availability and use of Narcan for those lives saved.  We chose to acknowledge and honor Officers First Class Jeremy Fuller and Thomas Saulsbury from the Elkton Police Department for saving Erin Woodie, a young mother from Cecil County.  Erin read the police report that was filed that day at the banquet.  She talked about her family and their gratitude for the Officers’ actions and humane treatment that day.  She credits them for saving her life, as she now is experiencing long term recovery.

photos by Jane Bellmyer, Cecil Whig

Also honored was Shelley Smith, a volunteer of Voices of Hope, Inc. for her grateful service and willingness to help achieve our mission.  We presented her with the Distinguished Volunteer Award.

Although music and dancing was available, most people opted for the free Narcan training at the end of the night, hosted by Mike Massuli and Katie Carroll from the Alcohol & Drug Recovery Center.  24 people received the training and took home the life saving medication.

Please check out all the photos from the night on our Facebook page or #VOHBanquet2018

We are so grateful for the sponsors and supporters that made this night such a success, thank you!

Union Hospital of Cecil County

Ashley Addiction Treatment

Project Chesapeake

Cecil College

Recovery Centers of America

A and M Tent Tents

A & M Elegant Affairs

David Heitur Fotograph

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD)

Chesapeake Bay Coffee Co.

DJ Jim Thornton

Your Personal Chef Catering

Delegate Kevin Hornberger

American Home & Hardware

Kristin Lewis

Elkton Carpet & Tile

Back Creek Golf Club

Timeless Body Arts

Youth Empowerment Source

Rebs Used Cars

Addiction Connections Resource (ACR)

Al Miller

Bill Coutz

I do! Weddings

Nancy Simpers

Tower Business Systems

Charlotte Howard

Rippin’ Hot Sauce Company

Oxford House of Delaware

Beacon Health Options

Maryland’s Newest Mental Health First Aiders

18 Maryland residents were trained to administer Mental Health First Aid on Saturday, April 28, 2018.   13 are people who live or work in Cecil County.  With this training, participants are better equipped to recognize a mental health or substance use crisis and take steps to help someone stay safe.  These tools can be used in any setting: work, at home or in the community.  Voices of Hope believes that education and training will increase the health of our county and empower us to help each other.  Completion of the course also gave CEUs to those seeking the Maryland Certified Peer Recovery Specialist credential.  Thank you to all who participated!

This training was hosted by Voices of Hope, Inc. in cooperation with the Cecil County Health Department and sponsored by Maryland Department of Health, Behavioral Health Administration and the University of Maryland School of Medicine Training Center.  Jacquelyn Pettis, MSN, RN, CPRS and Manager of Wellness and Recovery of Beacon Health Options and Jennifer Tuerke, CPRS and President of Voices of Hope, Inc. were the volunteer instructors for the day.

Recovery Support in Maryland