Sher­iff cre­ates pam­phlet of ad­dic­tion re­sources

Record Observer - - News - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­

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 through­health­con­nec­tion. 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.


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