Youth Voice Summit Focusing on Opioid Awareness to Take Place Wednesday, March 15 in Gaithersburg

by Patrick Herron
Per the City of Gaithersburg: Youth Services, in partnership with the Gaithersburg Youth Opportunities Coalition, is hosting a Youth Voice Summit for local middle & high school students on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park. The summit will focus on opioid awareness and will feature local activist Deena Louden, who tragically lost her son to fentanyl poisoning in 2020.


1 PM Check-In & Lunch
1:30 PM Keynote Speaker
2 PM Panel Discussion
2:30 PM Breakout (PSA)
3:30 PM Resource Fair

The program will also include a panel discussion with subject experts, and student breakout groups will create public service announcements to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid use. The PSAs will be judged with prizes for the top three winners. Hot 99.5 will award first prize PSA winners with Ed Sheeran tickets for his upcoming concert at FedEx Field this summer. Second & third prize winners will receive free admission tickets to the Water Park & Miniature Golf Course. The top three entries will be shared on the City’s social media platforms.

The event will close with a resource fair featuring support program information and nonprofit groups, including Tree of Hope, Montgomery Goes Purple, The Landing, and the Gaithersburg Police Department. Students attending the event will receive lunch from Subway, a Youth Voice Summit t-shirt, and Student Service Learning (SSL) hours for their participation.

The Youth Voice Summit is one of many events to come from Opioid Abatement funds the City is receiving from the state of Maryland. The event follows a week of assemblies in the community presented by Tony Hoffman, former professional BMX racer, U.S. Olympic coach, and person in long-term recovery.

The City is receiving close to $800,000 in funding over the next 18 years from the National Opioid Settlement agreement to combat opioid use and substance use disorder. The funding was made available in 2023, and will support programs on opioid education, prevention & treatment.

Wednesday is a half day for Montgomery County Public School students. The City encourages staff & students to attend this first of many opioid outreach events that aim to increase community-wide awareness as the rate of overdose deaths among U.S. teens nearly doubled within the last two years & continues to rise in our community.


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