Charles County

Go Purple Charles County

Together We Rise

What is Go Purple Charles County?

Go Purple Charles County is inspired by “Project Purple,” an initiative of the Herren Project, a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation established by former NBA basketball player, Chris Herren.  Go Purple Charles County initiative works to promote education and awareness of substance use disorders with the goal of ending stigma, advocating treatment, celebrating recovery and promoting harm reduction practices in Charles County.  Substance Use, Gambling and Mental Health Recovery Communities continue to face stigma and discrimination.  By coming together, we can engage the community to share important messages to reduce stigma and promote awareness. 

What Is Substance Use Disorder?

Substance use disorder or SUD, is the clinical term to describe the disease of addiction. SUD is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. SUDs are a lot like other diseases, such as heart disease. Both disrupt the normal, healthy functioning of an organ in the body, both have serious harmful effects, and both are, in many cases, preventable and treatable. If left untreated, they can last a lifetime and may lead to death. People of all backgrounds and beliefs can experience addiction. It can be hard to understand why some people are more prone to addiction than others. Many factors can raise your risk of becoming addicted to alcohol and other drugs.

What Is Stigma?

Stigma is a collection of attitudes, beliefs, behaviors and structures that generate negative attitudes about people with a condition. Stigma often causes people with addiction to become so embarrassed or ashamed that they conceal symptoms—and avoid seeking the very treatment, services, and support they need and deserve. Family and loved ones experience stigma hesitate to take action or to ask for help. They carry guilt and shame –affecting their health and wellness. With SUD the sooner you intervene, the better the outcome—yet stigma causes patients and families to keep the disease a secret for fear of being judged and marginalized.  Stigma harms the 1 in 5 Americans affected by mental health conditions. It shames individuals into silence and prevents them from seeking help, damages hope for recovery, and ends lives. Too often individuals aren’t told that they’re not alone, they can recover and there is hope.

“The biggest killer out there is stigma. Stigma keeps people in the shadows. Stigma keeps people from coming forward and asking for help. Stigma keeps families from admitting that there is a problem.”

Types of Stigma

Self Stigma

accepting and internalizing negative stereotypes about oneself

Public Stigma

negative attitudes and fears that isolate groups of people

Stigma Against Medication

a belief that medications make you weak or are substituting one addiction for another

Structural Stigma

excluding a group of individuals from opportunities and resources

Language Matters

Words we use shape how we see the world–and ourselves. We have a choice in the words we use to describe ourselves, others, and the world around us. The words we choose and the meanings we attach to them influence our decisions, beliefs, and well-being.

What is Recovery?

Recovery is a continuous journey of change through which an individual improves their health and wellness, lives a self-directed life, and strives to realize their full potential. Given that setbacks are an intrinsic part of life, resilience is a key element of the recovery journey.  The voyage of addiction recovery is deeply individual, and different strategies work for different people. There are two very different recovery philosophies – Abstinence and Harm Reduction. Finding the right treatment approach can be the key to a successful recovery journey.

Navigating Recovery Challenges

Given the persistent nature of addiction, setbacks or relapses – a return to substance use after attempting to stop – can be part of the journey for some individuals. However, new treatment strategies are built to help prevent relapses.

Talking About Recovery

What do I do if someone I care about is using drugs? First, sit down and take a deep breath.  You do not need to assume the worst, but you do need to act.  Prepare for a conversation with your child or loved one.  Be supportive (not judgemental) of a loved one who may be using drugs.  Remember that substance use disorder is a medical condition, not a moral failing.  There are valuable tips on the links below.  It may help to reach out to a trained professional or support group.


  1. Education: Learn about the disease of addictionrisk and protective factors, and the harm of stigma

  2. Change your language: Use terms that reduce stigma and negative bias when talking about addiction.

  3. Share personal stories and experiences: Invite people to share their stories – positive interactions can change attitudes.

  4. Celebrate those in recovery!

  5. Talk to your kids about the dangers of misusing prescription medications.
  6. Talk with your kids about the Good Samaritan Law
  7. Lock up prescription medications
  8. Dispose of expired or unwanted medications.
  9. Share Charles County Goes Purple educational messages on Facebook and Twitter.
  10. Get trained to administer Naloxone.