Health officer gives update on opioid response
— An opioid overdose rescue demonstration was part of Talbot County Health Officer Dr. Fredia Wadley’s report to the Talbot County Council at its Tuesday, Sept. 26, meeting.
Wadley gave a naxolone training demonstration that the health department offers to interested parties and provided statistics about the opioid crisis in Maryland. Naxolone, known commonly by its trade name Narcan, is an opioid blocker.
She also updated the council on funding, projects and priorities in the effort to provide prevention education and treatment for substance abuse in the county.
Wadley said September is National Recovery Month, but she began her report with grim statistics of opioid overdose deaths. Of the 2,089 overdose deaths in Maryland last year, 10 were in Talbot County, Wadley said. By the end 0f 2017, 2,500 or more opioid overdose deaths are expected in Maryland.
During the first seven months of 2017, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health reported 98 overdose incidents that came into its emergency facilities, 23 of whom were Talbot County residents.
Wadley said recovery beds will account for half of the nearly $80,000 in state funding for Talbot County’s efforts to stem the opioid crisis. The other half is devoted to prevention efforts as determined by the county’s Opioid Intervention Team Plan.
In July, Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center, Department of Health and the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention announced more than $22 million to fight the heroin and opioid epidemic.
Three priorities are designated for the $40,000 in recovery beds, Wadley said. Beds will be assigned to “those coming out of the detention center ..., those involved in the problem-solving court and those who have been in detoxification,” she said.
The health department has contracts with all the recovery houses in Talbot County and with some outside the county.
However, “the biggest problem still in Talbot County with addiction is we do not have enough providers to give treatment as rapidly as we would like,” Wadley said.
Since her last report to the council, Wadley said, “Mid Shore Behavioral Health Inc., together with the five Mid-Shore counties, put in a proposal, and they did win $277,000 for crisis beds.”
The same organization also put in a proposal for crisis services, and is asking for enhancement of area mobile crisis teams, both for mental health and substance abuse, expansion of the crisis line and for establishing safe stations, especially at least one for Talbot County “to see how that might work,” Wadley said.
Wadley said early intervention for children and adolescents and providing them with behavioral heath services was inadequate.
“We do have a good schoolbased program: Eastern Shore Psychological has providers going into the school (with a program) that doesn’t cost the school anything,” she said.
Another successful project funded by a grant for 17 years peaked at 90 children with behavioral problems, “but the grant went away,” Wadley said. “Channel Marker has been able to maintain the program with two donors for the eight or nine years since the grant went away but has only been able to serve 30 children.”
Wadley said efforts are being made to determine how more providers for children’s behavioral health can be brought on board.
The health department also is working on prevention services, such as educating the public about storage and disposal of medications; providing naxolone training, which it has begun doing for businesses like restaurants and bars; and providing care coordination services, from getting people into treatment, as well as when they’re coming out of detox into a recovery bed and housing.
Wadley concluded her report with the naxolone training demonstration. Those interested in getting training should call the Talbot County Health Department at 410-819-5600 and ask for Alexandra Duff.
At the Sept. 26 meeting of the Talbot County Council, Talbot County Health Officer Dr. Fredia Wadley demonstrates naxolone, also known by its trade name Narcan, is administered to an opioid overdose victim.