March is HC DrugFree's Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Awareness Month
                                     in Howard County

Dear Howard County Community,

HC DrugFree is proud to partner with the Howard High School PTSA at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 18th to present a powerful Parent2Parent program with Howard High School parents Andy and Drema Bonavitacola. They will share the story of their son's struggle with addiction and what it ultimately cost their family - the death of their son Joey. This is a must-hear program for all Howard County parents (and grandparents)! The program will feature a Q&A session facilitated by Mark Donovan, a licensed drug counselor. We urge you to join us on March 18th for this program. Please see details below. 

Also, spring must be around the corner because it's time for HC DrugFree's annual "Senior Week: Staying Safe in Ocean City" programs. If you are the parent of a high school senior who is considering attending Senior Week after graduation, HC DrugFree is pleased to let you know that this month we will be holding TWO "Senior Week: Staying Safe in Ocean City" programs. The programs will be held on consecutive Thursdays, March 13th and March 20th. Please see details below. We urge all parents and students who are considering participating in Senior Week to attend the program, ask questions, and learn ways to make your Senior Week experience safe and memorable. Corporal Howard Caplan of the Ocean City Police Department and Sergeant James McVey of the Ocean City Beach Patrol (also a Howard County school teacher) volunteer their time to speak at the programs to keep our teens safe and ensure parents understand their accountability in providing vehicles, purchasing alcohol, signing leases, etc. for their children. A special thank you to Atholton High School and River Hill High School PTSAs for co-sponsoring these 2 Senior Week programs.


Joan Webb Scornaienchi
Executive Director, HC DrugFree
Howard County Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator
The nationwide crackdown on prescription drug abuse has brought a rise in the use of heroin among people seeking an opiate high. Recently the governor of Vermont dedicated his entire State of the State address to the scourge of heroin addiction in his state. Click here to read the New York Times article about his speech, and click here to read the New York Times article featuring addicts in recovery in Vermont. While these articles may be about Vermont, HC DrugFree hears regularly about the ready availability of heroin here in Howard County.
E-Cigarettes: Helpful or Harmful?
E-cigarettes may help some adults quit smoking while eliminating the harmful smoke associated with traditional cigarettes. However, companies are heavily marketing to new users, teens, with flavors such as Captain Crunch and cherry crush, and opponents say the devices can be a gateway for youth to a lifelong addiction to nicotine. Click here to read more on this issue.
Drug Q&A
Click here for real drug and alcohol questions from students and the answers provided by experts from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Free informational pamphlets available
If you would like to receive either of the free pamphlets below, please email your name and address and the name of the pamphlet to [email protected] and we will send it to you.


Si le interesa recibir cualquiera de los folletos abajo gratis, favor de mandar su nombre y direcci�n a [email protected] indicando el nombres del folleto y lo enviaremos por correo.   

Save the Dates


March 13 - Senior Week, Staying Safe in Ocean City - 7:00 p.m. Atholton High School, 6520 Freetown Rd., Columbia, MD.  

Many Howard County high school seniors participate in the Maryland tradition of going to the shore for "Senior Week". Having so many unsupervised teens in one place can lead to dangerous situations, risky behavior, and trouble with the law. Before deciding whether or not to permit your child to go to Ocean City for Senior Week, find out the facts from Ocean City Beach Patrol Sergeant (and Mayfield Woods Middle School teacher) James H. McVey, IV and Ocean City Police Corporal Howard Caplan as they offer advice to keep teens safe. Parents are encouraged to bring their high school senior to this informative program. Program co-sponsored by HC DrugFree and Atholton High School PTSA.  


March 18 - Parent2Parent - 7:00 p.m. Howard High School, 8700 Old Annapolis Rd., Ellicott City, MD. Parents, please join Howard High School parents, Andy and Drema Bonavitacola, and other Howard County parents and family members as they share their experiences with drug and alcohol abuse by their children. They will honestly discuss the ups and downs of living with an addict, the destructiveness of this behavior and its all too often fatal end. The Q&A session will be facilitated by Mark Donovan, a licensed drug counselor. Program co-sponsored by HC DrugFree and Howard High School PTSA.  


March 19 - Kick Butts Day - For information on free smoking cessation programs through the Howard County Health Department, please visit:


March 20 - Senior Week, Staying Safe in Ocean City - 7:00 p.m. River Hill High School, 12101 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville, MD (see above for description). Program co-sponsored by HC DrugFree and River Hill High School PTSA.

March 21 - HoCo FilmFest - 7:00 p.m. Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, 11100 Johns Hopkins Rd., Laurel, MD. Come celebrate as the winning films are shown, including the HC DrugFree category winner.

March 28 - RHHStival - 7:00 p.m. River Hill High School, 12101 Clarksville Pike, Clarksville, MD. Come hear local bands as they perform on stage.

April 3 - What You Need to Know About Teen Partying - 7:00 p.m. Glenelg High School, 14025 Burntwoods Rd., Glenelg, MD. A panel of speakers will discuss the reality of what goes on at teen parties. Program co-sponsored by HC DrugFree and Glenelg High School PTSA and River Hill High School PTSA.

April 7 - Teen Advisory Council Meeting - 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. The Barn in Oakland Mills, 5853 Robert Oliver Place, Columbia, MD.

April 26 - National Drug Take Back Day - 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Start collecting expired and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medicines for proper disposal. Keep them out of the hands of youth and our water supply. Convenient drop-off locations are listed at For more information contact Joan Webb Scornaienchi, Executive Director of HC DrugFree, at [email protected] or 443-325-0040.

April 26 - Needle, Syringe, EpiPen Collection - 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. HC DrugFree's office, Wilde Lake Village Center 10451 Twin Rivers Rd., Columbia, MD. Stuck with hypodermic needles, syringes or EpiPens and don't know what to do with them? Bring them to HC DrugFree's Office, which  serves as the ONLY collection site for proper disposal of such items, on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. For more information contact Joan Webb Scornaienchi, Executive Director of HC DrugFree, at
[email protected] or 443-325-0040.
HC DrugFree Partners
Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services * Howard County Health Department * Howard County Library * Howard County Police Department * Howard County Public School System * PTA Council of Howard County * YOU, members of the Howard County Community
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HC DrugFree
Joan Webb Scornaienchi, Executive Director
[email protected]

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