Opioid addiction fight requires more experienced leadership
I am writing to express my extreme disappointment in Gov. Wes Moore and his decision to appoint Hagerstown Mayor Emily Keller as “Special Secretary of Opioid Response.”
Maryland is still experiencing an epidemic of drug overdoses, and he appoints someone who appears to have little if any training in addiction. Keller’s lived experience of having a close friend die from overdose and her advocacy for treatment while in office are not enough to qualify her to lead our lifesaving efforts and oversee critical resources. Unfortunately, thousands of Marylanders either have lost a close loved one or know someone who has. I’m sure she is a fine person, or else the folks in Hagerstown wouldn’t have voted her in as mayor. But has she even taken any addiction courses?
Governor, please don’t insult the hundreds of hardworking advocates across the state who have dedicated their lives to working on pretty tough addiction issues and the overdose crisis by appointing someone with little to no experience. There are some extraordinary individuals in the hardest hit areas in Maryland for overdoses that are not only experts in the field of addiction, they are the boots on the ground, the warriors, the caregivers. This is not the time to treat Maryland’s response to the opioid crisis with a cavalier thought on selecting the best person to lead.
And no, we don’t have time to wait for Keller, who resigned her post as mayor, to settle into this new position. If she remains in her position, it’s quite possible that she will cause more harm than good. Maryland deserves better.