5 Questions with Joe Gamble, Talbot County Sheriff – Talbot, MD
1.) Why did you decide to bring the THP Project Purple Initiative to your school/community?
My youngest son heard Chris Herren speak at York College of Pennsylvania. After the presentation, my son, called me later that evening to talk about the talk. I knew if Chris’ talk impacted him then it would impact kids at our high school. After doing the research on THP Project Purple, we felt that we could engage not only the school community, but also our entire county. The project was a huge success, bigger than we ever imagined. The success was measured by the doors it opened to engage our community in substance abuse awareness, education and starting a new conversation about prescription medications. That conversation was long overdue as nearly 90% of parents do not associate prescription medications with addiction. Over 100 talks were given to kids, parents and grandparents in schools, at ball fields and other venues.
2.) What activities are you doing this year that you’re most excited about?
Both of our county high schools have implemented THP Project Purple Clubs this school year. The Easton High club has already taken games purple AND held a THP Project Purple themed video PSA contest for their homecoming.
3.) What advice do you have for other schools looking for ideas to bring to their school and communities?
Listen to your youth! Let them lead the charge, lead their clubs and ultimately they’ll influence their parents and others in the community.
4.) Favorite piece of THP gear?
Alex and Ani bangle!!
5.) How has THP Project Purple changed your school and community?
The new conversation about substance abuse that we started in our schools and in the community has spread like wildfire. Every day since our kick off people are calling to offer their help, many never realized the extent of the problem. Teacher and coaches are inviting us to speak in the schools to better educate our kids and parents about the dangers of substance abuse, specifically the “path to addiction” and the new conversation about prescription medication. The project has motivated county and local officials to get
involved. The recovery community has fully embraced the project and some are giving credit to it giving them hope that the people in our county care about them, helping to break down the stigma associated with addiction.