HAGERSTOWN, Md (WDVM) — According to the Washington County Health Department, last month there were 28 overdoses and six drug-related deaths in the area. Experts say the pandemic has definitely impacted the drug use in our community.

Drugs have always been an issue in our society, but the pandemic is making it even more challenging for those who suffer from substance abuse.

Many in-person meetings are being canceled for safety, and some in-patient rehab facilities are also being closed down.

With in-person resources being taken away, many people who battle addiction problems can feel lost. Especially if people do not have access to virtual support. But programs like Washington County Goes Purple is trying their best to help substance users get through this trying time. 

“I promise you there are tons of people in Washington County and in Maryland that are ready to help you, reach out to someone that you trust,” said Emily Keller, co-chair of Washington County Goes Purple and candidate for Hagerstown Mayor.

“I know addiction makes you feel very alone, makes you feel very helpless, like you’re facing all your trauma by yourself. But there is help out there and people do care,” Keller added.

Robert Zellner is a former narcotics user who now dedicates his work to educating the public on the effects of drugs. He explains how some people don’t understand the uphill battle some users experience, especially during COVID-19, so Zellner tries his best to help inform the public.

“We’re all out here to help, do not allow your current circumstance to define what your future can look like, and please ask for help,” said Zellner.

This Friday, the Washington County Health Department will be setting up information tables on Jonathan and Church Streets where counselors will be available from 8:30 to 10 a.m.

Counselors urge anyone who is struggling with addiction and want to receive help, to come Friday to discuss options.