QA awarded $79,000 to fight opioid epidemic
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.