Sheriff creates pamphlet of addiction resources
CENTREVILLE — In an effort to combat the growing opioid epidemic at a local level, the Queen Anne’s County Office of the Sheriff has created a document listing addiction, counseling, treatment and mental health assessment providers.
The informational pamphlet, available on the sheriff’s office website, begins with a letter to the community from Sheriff Gary Hofmann letting the community know the department is available and can be an aid in providing resources and guidance for direction with addiction issues.
On the second page, a list of substance abuse resources in the area has been provided. Hofmann said this is a growing project and if a provider is interested in being added to the list to contact him at the office.
Substance abuse resources on the list include: Dr. Eric Ceganek with the Suboxone Treatment Center, Chesapeake Treatment Svcs Medication Assisted Treatment, Community Behavioral Health, Queen Anne’s County Health Department Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, Bridges Behavioral Health and Wellness, Dr. Robert Schreiber, Corsica River Mental Health, Anne Arundel Counseling, and Dr. Joel Wilkerson.
In April, Hofmann spoke about the project during a roundtable discussion hosted by U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The roundtable, called “Ending the Epidemic,” included health providors, medical professionals and law enforcement officers.
Before heroin was a major issue in the area, Hofmann said families would come into his office and tell him about their child’s opioid addiction because they didn’t know who or where to turn to.
As more overdoses began to occur from heroin and prescription medication and more families came to his office, Hofmann said would ask when parents first noticed the behavior and he would cringe when they answered, “well, kids are going to be kids. They smoked weed ... they drank.”
“But what the family didn’t notice over time was that just the smoking of weed and just ... alcohol became a greater issue, but they were afraid to talk about the issue and they were afraid to approach it because they didn’t know anything about it. They though they would grow out of this. Instead, they grew into that problem,” he said.
Hofmann said the relationship between law enforcement and pharmacies has grown in recent years dealing with prescription frauds.
After looking at programs throughout the nation involving addiction issues—programs like allowing offenders to come into the office for police transportation to the hospital— Hofmann said he realized something important: how do we get the families resources and what exactly were the right outlets to direct them to?
Hofmann said he “had no idea what to do” when people used to ask exactly where to find help.
“As police officers we’re pastors, we’re social workers, we’re EMTs... we arrest the bad guys, we’re doing all this stuff but when it came down to an addiction issue we had no idea what to do or where to send somebody,” he said.
“...What I didn’t see was something that would help the officers and the community, real time, on the spot when something’s going down,” Hofmann said.
Now, all officers will carry this form while on duty so when responding to a scene regarding an addiction issue, the families or friends could receive a potential outlet for help.
Hofmann said he aims to push this information out to help people before they get to the point of arrest or death.
“The big thing I wanted to give our law enforcement officers [was] a tool in the community to assist on how that’s done,” Hofmann said.
Information is also available for how to get insurance for a child through www.mdhealthconnection. gov. For more information about the application process, it says, contact the county’s Drug Free Coalition at 443-480-4953.
Follow Mike Davis on Twitter: mike_kibaytimes.
SHERIFF R.G. HOFMANN