Dorchester Goes Purple frequently asked questions

Bill Christopher

Bill Christopher

This is a follow up to last month’s article on Dorchester Goes Purple (DGP) with the objective to provide answers to several questions that have been raised regarding the program.

Q: Why Purple, are you not Redskins fans?

A: The project is fashioned after Project Purple, the nonprofit organization Chris Herren founded to help break the scar of addiction, bring awareness to how dangerous substance abuse is, and encourage others to navigate life’s challenges by making positive decisions. Project Purple started from an inspiration Herren got from students at a high school he was speaking at in 2011. Some of the students in the front row were wearing purple shirts as a statement to not use drugs and that served as the inspiration for Purple, not the Ravens.

Q: Why are you diverting funds from treatment to buy purple light bulbs?

A: No funds are being diverted to Dorchester Goes Purple from any treatment or other programs that combat addiction. The DGP program is funded by donations coming in from the community and local businesses. All funds raised are going directly to the effort to increase awareness in Dorchester County. The spend on the project is minimal and all the labor to execute the program has been donated. One of the goals of the program is to make Dorchester County citizens aware of all the work that has already been done in the County and to help those in need find the resources to assist with whatever they may be going through related to addiction.

Q: Why is the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce involved with addiction awareness?

A: Typically, we start the response with the question of why isn’t every organization in the County involved? But the longer answer is the mission of the Chamber is to work toward building a strong business community. Anything that threatens the fabric of the community will negatively affect the business community. We believe you cannot have a strong business community without a strong community and visa versa. Also, the financial impact of addiction is huge, and it is especially difficult for small businesses to absorb the added costs, estimated at just short of $12,000 annually for any employee or employee with a family member that is struggling with addiction.

Q: Drug use and overdoses have been problems for years, why so much attention now?

A: There have been sustained and focused efforts on attacking addiction for decades. However, in recent years the problem has reached new levels due to a key issue: the proliferation of opioids. We are now at the point where more people die from prescription painkillers than are killed in automobile accidents and homicides combined. That is the reason for the increased focus. This is a far-reaching issue that can touch anyone in our community and as a result needs the whole community to come together to combat it.

There is a lot more information about Dorchester Goes Purple on the website which can be found at www.dorchestergoespurple.org. You can also send us additional questions using the Contact Us button found on the website, all questions are welcome.

Editor’s note: Mr. Christopher is the President and CEO of the Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce. His column appears on the first Wednesday of every month in this publication.

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