Information About COVID-19


Carmen Skarlupka

Motto: Be well and thrive Carmen is a disabled, US Navy Veteran, and the Chapter Coordinator of Team River Runner, and a member of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Team River Runner provides year-round no cost adaptive outdoor recreation therapy to disabled veterans, their families and caregivers. Her journey began as a young mother of an autistic daughter, who later acquired a traumatic brain injury and a subsequent opioid use disorder. Carmen has been working with children, youth, young adult and adult in adaptive art therapy and adaptive recreational therapy for over 30 years. Consisting of people who self identify with a substance use disorder, LGBTQ, BIPOC, sex workers, and mental health or medical disabilities. Her adaptive recreation therapeutic experience includes camping, canoeing, dancing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, meditation, parasailing, qi gong, sailing, scuba diving, snow skiing, snowboarding, surfing, waterskiing, tai chi and yoga. Organizations she has worked with include the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Camp Barrett, Arlington Echo Drownproofing, Dragonfly Heart Camp, Sierra Club, Wounded Warriors and Team River Runner. In addition, Carmen has worked diligently within the Substance Use Disorder Community since 2016; promoting national, state and county-wide SUD and TBI diagnosis, advocating harm reduction, safe use, distribution of Narcan, needle exchange and sharp disposal programs, PrEP, HIV, Hep C, HSV, HPV and pregnancy testing, access to food, shelter and hygiene, and for the decriminalization of people with a substance use disorder. Professionally, Carmen is one of the founding members of Never Use Alone, a 1-800 number that supports people during active injection/inhalation to contact EMS in the case of a suspected overdose. She is the former Chair of South County Bridges to a Drug Free Coalition, one of Anne Arundel County's youth substance use prevention coalitions, a former member of Recovery Anne Arundel (ROSC), AA Co. Prevention Leadership - Opioid Taskforce, AA Co. Opioid Misuse Prevention Taskforce, AA Co. Community Coalition, Naptown Anti-Dope Movement, Not My Child, DARE, CADCA trained in Strategic Prevention Framework, and a member of the Veterans Administration's Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center in Baltimore. She is also a member of several parent-lead harm reduction advocacy groups by people who have lost a child to an opioid overdose. As a former employee of the Maryland Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Aging and Disability, Services Directed Attendant Services, Carmen provided direct support to a person diagnosed with a SUD and TBI. Carmen experienced first hand the extraordinary and unnecessary stigma, prejudices, barriers and hurdles faced bwhile advocating for her clients. Carmen has provided direct support to both women's and men's recovery houses and programs across the State of Maryland, in Anne Arundel, Howard, Prince Georges, Saint Mary's and Washington counties; transportation, clothing, food, sanitary supplies, over the counter medical supplies, participant's program coordination, and Disability benefits advocacy for people diagnosed with a SUD. Carmen is a member of the Adaptive Sports Association of Colorado and New Mexico, Paddlesports Facilitator, for the Association of Outdoor Recreation Education. Safe Sports certified, and completing her American Canoe Association paddle sports Instructor certifications in addition to pursuing her adaptive Outdoor Adventure Leadership certifications at Fort Collins, Colorado. She recently was awarded an L.L. Bean Diversity, Equity and Inclusion grant for paddlesports. In 2018, after multiple medically undiagnosed and untreated acquired brain injuries, a direct result of multiple nonlethal opioid overdoses, Carmen lost her only daughter to a fatal opioid overdose at the age of 28. It is Carmen's firm belief that recovery, consisting of behavioral, emotional, economic, familial, legal, medical, mental, sexual, social, and spiritual, healing, health and wellness of people with a substance use disorder is directly proportionate to the level of inclusive and equitable clinical diagnoses and appropriate therapeutic interventions and therapies. Additionally, that every person, diagnosed with a substance use disorder is destined to live a long healthy fulfilling life, supported by long-term healing, health and wellness therapeutic support of their medical and mental health disability diagnoses, as a direct result of their co-occurring substance use disorder and acquired brain injury(ies). Be well and thrive.

Main Agenda

Return To Main Agenda