Saturday was a busier than usual day at Veterans Park in Old Dundalk, where community outreach groups gathered to educate residents on drug abuse, and gave out resources, including free haircuts.
“We’re letting the community know we’re here,” Toni Torsch, who directs the Daniel Carl Torsch Foundation, said. The Torsch Foundation is named after her son, who died at 24 from a drug overdose in 2010.
The following year, the Torsch Foundation started doing work in awareness, prevention and treatment.
The group gave demonstrations on how to use naloxone, a widely available, lifesaving drug which can reverse an opioid overdose. While the drug is helpful in overdoses of heroin, fentanyl or other opioids, advocates fear the emergence of xylazine, a horse sedative, could cause more problems, as xylazine overdoses cannot be reversed by naloxone.
Toni Torsch said the group has teams that respond after overdoses with a backpack full of resources after being contacted by the health department.
The health department is only able to give a limited amount of information to volunteers due to confidentiality laws, but the Torsch foundation is able to visit those who need help and encourage them to find paths out of addiction. They are also able to find people who may want help through social media chatter.
“We’re not trying to force people into treatment,” Toni Torsch said. But if someone calls and asks for help, the foundation may be able to get them into treatment by sundown.
Also present was Addiction Treatment of Maryland, or AToM, the Dundalk-based drug and alcohol treatment center located on Center Place in Historic Dundalk.
“We offer housing for people who need drug and alcohol treatment,” Karah Thompson, the intake coordinator there, said, also adding the center offers suboxone maintenance.
“We’re here to give resources, and to get resources,” Thompson said.
The resource day also brought free haircuts to the park, a service B’More Cutz barber Kevin Shepard said he didn’t mind doing for free.
“Cutting hair is something beneficial to people that need it,” he said, adding that a haircut makes you “feel good about yourself” and may encourage those who are struggling to “take the initiative, and maybe do something like get a job.”
“I’m out here just trying to make a difference,” Shepard said.