St. Mary’s County Health Department (SMCHD) and St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) are teaming up to host Brandon Novak, a well-known motivational speaker, for a talk on recovery from substance use. The event will be held on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. in the Auerbach Auditorium of St. Mary’s Hall at SMCM. Although designed for more mature audiences, the presentation is free and open to all community members.

Novak’s “Recovery is Possible” talk will focus on substance use disorder (SUD) and the stigma that often follows those suffering from this illness. SUD is a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by drug seeking and use despite the harm the drug use causes to a person’s health, employment, and relationships. Novak, an author, television personality, and professional skateboarder, has experienced his own personal journey of addiction and recovery, which has inspired people worldwide.

The Brandon Novak event is part of the St. Mary’s Goes Purple initiative, a community campaign working to end the social and personal stigma that often prevents people from seeking help for their substance use disorder.

“Stigma is one of the most significant barriers to getting help for yourself or your family members when there is a concern about substance use and the chronic illness of substance use disorder,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “Treatment is available, recovery is possible, and hope is always by your side. Our community resources and Brandon Novak’s powerful story can support St. Mary’s residents and families in better understanding and healing along this challenging journey.”

Jessica Jolly, LCSW-C, director of counseling at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, also added, “You or someone you know may be impacted by consequences related to substance use. Addiction can happen to anyone. An important first step is to reach out to your healthcare provider – such as a campus wellness center – where a trained counselor or medical professional can help.”

For those interested in attending the Brandon Novak event, please register here.

For more information about the St. Mary’s Goes Purple initiative, visit

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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