New Wicomico Hotline for Overdose Emergencies - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Wicomico Hotline for Overdose Emergencies

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WICOMICO COUNTY, Md. -  In the case of an emergency, dialing 911 is the quickest way to get help.  But now, there is a new hotline aimed at saving lives and doing so anonymously.

The number is 211 and it is a hotline sponsored by the Wicomico County Health Department and Life Crisis Center.  The purpose is to give people a number to call in case they are witnessing a drug overdose and are afraid of possible punishment when law enforcement arrives.  211 is anonymous and the operator will not only dispatch EMS but also offer potentially life saving tips to the caller in the mean time.

It's no secret that heroin has invaded Wicomico County impacting the lives of not only the users but their friends and families as well.  Sarah McCoy of Delmar says she was caught up in addiction for eight years, and her husband battled it for even longer.
"We went to the point where we were injecting it.  We've been to jails, we've been homeless.  We've been through it all.  Been to rehabs, we tried it all.  And nothing ever changed," McCoy said.

Fortunately for McCoy and her husband, they were able to find their saving grace about three years ago.

"It was only when we got saved and Jesus came into our life that something changed," said McCoy.

Unfortunately, others are not so lucky and their battle against addiction rages on.  That is where the Wicomico County Health Department is stepping in with this new option for help.  During the event of an overdose, if people in Wicomico County wish to remain anonymous, they call either 211 or 410-749-HELP, or 800-422-0009 to get assistance.    The hope in Wicomico County is that the 211 line catches on.

"I think it's going to probably take some time to establish some trust.  People are going to test it to make sure it works, you know.  And that they won't get in trouble," said Cynthia Shifler, the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Prevention Coordinator.

"But you are talking about a life, you know, and in the midst of that you don't even realize.  But yeah, definitely, I think it is a good idea," McCoy added.

Anyone interested in free 211 cards or posters is encouraged to call 410-219-7544. 

For all of the details of the 211 hotline be sure to visit http://www.wicomicohealth.org/news.aspx?newsid=4344
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