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JOAN WEBB SCORNAIENCHI HC DrugFree

Scornaienchi, Joan Webb03MFIf you’ve noticed drug education materials printed in Korean or Arabic in your doctor’s office or local pharmacy, chances are you live in Howard County. Ditto if you’ve requested and received a free medication storage box for your prescription drugs.

Both innovations are part of the “In the KNOW” drug education campaign started in Howard County by Joan Webb Scornaienchi.

Scornaienchi is the energetic executive director of HC DrugFree, which provides prevention, treatment, health and wellness resources to county residents. And she’s passionate about her job.

“I am always looking for new and creative ways to educate on a not so glamorous or appealing topic – alcohol and drug misuse,” Scornaienchi said. “The reality is that few people want to hear about substance abuse or misuse prevention until it’s too late.”

Scornaienchi started the In the KNOW campaign years ago, but it picked up steam with a 2015 grant. Besides the foreign language messages and free drug lockboxes, the campaign includes participating in the semi-annual Take Back days, when police collect medications and drug paraphernalia.

Future campaigns about gambling addictions, marijuana and e-cigarettes are planned.

“Our goal has been to educate an entire community, change behaviors, and save lives,” Scornaienchi said. “We have made great strides, but we know this is not a one-time or quick-fix challenge.”