QA awarded $79,000 to fight opi­oid epi­demic

Record Observer - - News -

AN­NAPO­LIS — Mary­land’s Opi­oid Op­er­a­tional Com­mand Cen­ter, Depart­ment of Health, and the Gov­er­nor’s Of­fice of Crime Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion has an­nounced more than $22 mil­lion to fight the heroin and opi­oid epi­demic. Eighty per­cent will go to Mary­land’s 24 lo­cal ju­ris­dic­tions and ser­vice providers to fund pre­ven­tion, en­force­ment and treat­ment ef­forts through­out the state.

Queen Anne’s County will re­ceive di­rect fund­ing in the sum of $79,564.94 for its opi­oid in­ter­ven­tion team to de­ter­mine how best to use to fight the heroin and opi­oid epi­demic. This amount does not in­clude other grants and ad­di­tional fund­ing dis­tri­bu­tion.

“Find­ing real so­lu­tions to the heroin and opi­oid cri­sis that is rav­aging our com­mu­ni­ties is a top pri­or­ity of our ad­min­is­tra­tion and a cause that my­self and Lt. Gov­er­nor Ruther­ford have been per­son­ally com­mit­ted to since be­fore we took of­fice,” said Gov. Larry Ho­gan. “This new fund­ing will make real dif­fer­ences in peo­ple’s lives as we work to­gether to turn the tide in this deadly fight.”

The fund­ing for Fis­cal Year 2018 in­cludes the first $10 mil­lion of Ho­gan’s $50 mil­lion com­mit­ment to ad­dress the cri­sis an­nounced in March 2017, the first $10 mil­lion from the fed­eral 21st Cen­tury Cures Act, and $2.1 mil­lion from the Gov­er­nor’s Of­fice of Crime Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

“Here in Mary­land, we con­tinue to face a cri­sis sit­u­a­tion with the num­ber of over­doses ris­ing ev­ery day. I am con­fi­dent that with these re­sources we are an­nounc­ing to­day, we have a bal­anced ap­proach to fight­ing this epi­demic – and we are giv­ing the ma­jor­ity of our re­sources to the lo­cal level where we have the great­est op­por­tu­nity to save lives,” said Clay Stamp, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Opi­oid Op­er­a­tional Com­mand Cen­ter. “It is im­por­tant to note our suc­cesses will con­tinue to be driven by the sig­nif­i­cant sup­port and co­op­er­a­tion of our fed­eral and state agen­cies and lo­cal co­or­di­nated teams, in­clud­ing key ad­vo­cacy groups, sup­port­ing our im­por­tant work to com­bat the opi­oid cri­sis.”

When Ho­gan de­clared a State of Emer­gency in March, he also an­nounced a sup­ple­men­tal bud­get of $50 mil­lion in new fund­ing over a five-year pe­riod. Twelve state agen­cies part­ner­ing with the Opi­oid Op­er­a­tional Com­mand Cen­ter worked with the com­mand cen­ter to de­velop a work plan and goals, which have shaped how funds will be al­lo­cated. The work plan and fund­ing al­lo­ca­tions also in­cor­po­rated feed­back from lo­cal Opi­oid In­ter­ven­tion Teams, which co­or­di­nate with the com­mu­nity and are led by the ju­ris­dic­tion’s emer­gency man­ager and health of­fi­cer.

The Mary­land Depart­ment of Health was awarded a $20 mil­lion grant un­der the 21st Cen­tury Cures Act from the U.S. Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices, ad­min­is­tered by the Sub­stance Abuse and Men­tal Health Ser­vices Ad­min­is­tra­tion (SAMHSA), to be used for the pre­ven­tion and treat­ment of opi­oid abuse over two years.

“The funds from the Gov­er­nor’s Of­fice of Crime Con­trol & Pre­ven­tion will be used to con­tinue the col­lab­o­ra­tion and co­or­di­na­tion be­tween fed­eral, state, and lo­cal law en­force­ment,” said Glenn Fue­ston, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the of­fice. “By pro­mot­ing such col­lab­o­ra­tion, we feel that we will be in a bet­ter po­si­tion to dis­rupt the flow of drugs com­ing into our re­gion.”

As Mary­land’s opi­oid cri­sis has evolved, so has the state’s re­sponse to it, which in­cludes ad­dress­ing the epi­demic from ev­ery pos­si­ble an­gle. Ed­u­ca­tion and pre­ven­tion go handin-hand with treat­ment and en­force­ment, and all are essen­tial com­po­nents of the state’s ef­forts to turn the tide in this heroin and opi­oid cri­sis.

The fund­ing an­nounce­ment also co­in­cides with the July 1, 2017 roll­out of Mary­land Med­i­caid pro­grams that make sub­stance use dis­or­der treat­ment op­tions more ac­ces­si­ble for Mary­lan­ders. Chief among them is the abil­ity of res­i­den­tial treat­ment cen­ters of a cer­tain size to be able to re­ceive Med­i­caid re­im­burse­ment for treat­ment — eras­ing a fed­eral pro­hi­bi­tion that had served as an im­ped­i­ment to treat­ment for many peo­ple.

Many of these ef­forts are pos­si­ble due to the pas­sage of re­cent leg­is­la­tion that pro­vided the state with ad­di­tional tools to re­spond to the heroin and opi­oid cri­sis, such as the Heroin and Opi­oid Pre­ven­tion Ef­fort (HOPE) and Treat­ment Act of 2017 (HB 1329/SB 967), a bi­par­ti­san om­nibus bill that con­tains pro­vi­sions to im­prove pa­tient ed­u­ca­tion, in­crease treat­ment ser­vices, and in­cludes the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Over­dose Pre­ven­tion Act, which en­ables all cit­i­zens to ac­cess life-sav­ing nalox­one. The HOPE Act builds on many of the 33 rec­om­men­da­tions of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Heroin and Opi­oid Emer­gency Task Force, and in­cludes im­prove­ments to the statewide cri­sis hot­line for sup­port in mak­ing di­ag­noses and re­fer­rals, the as­sess­ment of drug court pro­grams to de­ter­mine how to in­crease pro­grams in a man­ner suf­fi­cient to meet each county’s need, and the es­tab­lish­ment of the 24-hour cri­sis cen­ter.

Gov­er­nor Ho­gan’s State of Emer­gency dec­la­ra­tion ac­ti­vated the gov­er­nor’s emer­gency man­age­ment author­ity and en­ables in­creased and more rapid co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the state and lo­cal ju­ris­dic­tions.

The Opi­oid Op­er­a­tional Com­mand Cen­ter, es­tab­lished by Ho­gan in Jan­uary through an Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der, fa­cil­i­tates col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween state and lo­cal public health, hu­man ser­vices, ed­u­ca­tion, and public safety en­ti­ties to com­bat the heroin and opi­oid cri­sis and its ef­fects on Mary­land com­mu­ni­ties.

Be­fore It’s Too Late is the state’s ef­fort to bring aware­ness to this epi­demic — and to mo­bi­lize re­sources for ef­fec­tive pre­ven­tion, treat­ment, and re­cov­ery. Mary­lan­ders grap­pling with a sub­stance use dis­or­der can find help at Be­foreIt­sTooLateMD.org and 1-800-4220009, the state cri­sis hot­line.

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