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Baltimore County News

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Keyword: substance abuse

Training is in observance of International Overdose Awareness Day

The Baltimore County Department of Health is hosting an Open House from 1 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 in observance of International Overdose Awareness Day. During this event, the public will be able to:

  • receive one-on-one overdose response training and certification, plus a kit containing naloxone.
  • meet with a substance use counselor to ask questions about anything related to substance use, how to access treatment, or how to help a loved one.
  • talk with a peer recovery specialist, who is a person in long-term recovery, to learn about how they can help someone who is having substance related problems.

All Open House activities will take place at the Eastern Family Resource Center, located at 9100 Franklin Square Drive, Suite 322 in Baltimore, Maryland 21237. 

International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on August 31 each year and aims toraise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. For more information visit,

May 5 Evening Conference for Medical Professionals Seeks to Prevent Opioid Deaths

The Baltimore County Department of Health is hosting its inaugural Prescribing Drugs Responsibly Conference on May 5 at the Radisson Hotel in Timonium. The free event is intended to educate medical professionals about safe prescribing with the goal reducing deaths and advancing prevention goals related to the appropriate use of opioids.

 The target audience for the event includes dentists, medical doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and physician assistants. Areas covered are:

  • Identifying and interpreting risk factors that relate to the abuse, misuse and accidental overdose deaths related to opioids prescribed for the treatment of chronic pain.
  • Implementing evidence-based protocols for appropriate opioid prescribing practices.
  • Counseling patients and caregivers about the safe use, storage and monitoring of opioid drugs in the home and the need to dispose of expired or unnecessary drugs in drop boxes located at Police Precincts.
  • Evaluating the patient’s potential risk of abuse for opioids, especially the extended release and long–acting type, and implement an appropriate individual prevention plan.
  • Describing multiple preventive strategies to reduce the risk of overdose among those with chronic pain.
  • Applying intervention with patients whom you suspect may be misusing opioid drugs.
  • Prescribing Naloxone to patients, their family members or close friends when there is a risk for opioid overdose.
  • Articulating the distinction between drug misuse, dependence and addiction, and identify the clinical signs of non-cancer-related pain.

 MedChi designates this live educational activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. The conference is from 5 to 7 p.m. The Radisson Hotel is located at 2004 Greenspring Drive, Lutherville-Timonium, 21093.

 Registration is available online.

 For questions or more information, contact the Bureau of Behavioral Health at 410-887-3828.

– Collaborative Public Health and Public Safety Approach

Fewer people in Baltimore County will die from overdosing on heroin and other opioids thanks to new initiatives announced this morning by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

With his public safety and health leadership team by his side this morning, Kamenetz announced a plan for all Baltimore County police officers to carry the life-saving medication Naloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, which is used to reverse the effects of opioids, especially in overdose situations. Providing Naloxone to County police officers will cost approximately $14,000 every year; with a single dose costing about $40. Officers will begin carrying the medication in the field within three to six months.

“I’ve seen it work and it is truly a miracle drug for overdose victims,” said Fire Chief John Hohman. “You see a person who is virtually dead come to life in seconds.” Baltimore County Fire Department’s EMS responders have been administering Naloxone for more than 30 years. They are the first responders on the majority of overdose calls.

“Since police officers often arrive on the scene first, it makes sense for them to have this highly successful treatment at hand so they can administer it immediately and revive the person,” said Police Chief Jim Johnson. 

“Almost every one of us has been touched personally by a family member or friend dealing with substance abuse issues,” said Kamenetz. “While it is important that our first responders be prepared to save lives when they encounter an individual who has overdosed, we cannot delude ourselves into thinking that the administration of Narcan is a panacea or a long-term solution to substance abuse. We must continue to do all that we can to connect those who battle addiction each and every day with the services they need.” 

REACHing for Help with Recovery

Reach image with text

Kamenetz also announced that the County Health Department has created a dedicated phone line staffed with clinical social workers with specialized training in helping people with substance abuse issues move toward recovery for themselves or loved ones. This resource, education and advocacy help line will operate during normal County business hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and can be reached at 410-88-REACH (410-887-3224). The County will advertise and extensively promote the new help line in order to connect families and substance users with the resources they need for recovery. Individuals with a medical emergency should always continue to call 911.

In addition to connecting with County support by phone, individuals may go directly to the County website for information at

“Nationally and locally, heroin addiction and overdose deaths have increased by a staggering 286% since 2002,” said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of Baltimore County Department of Health and Human Services. “I am very pleased that we have training and a new help line for those in need to reach us.”

 County Offers Public Training on Overdose Prevention and Treatment

The Baltimore County Department of Health is offering free, two-hour training sessions for the public on how to recognize, prevent and respond to an opioid overdose by using intra-nasal naloxone. For more information, people may call the Bureau of Behavioral Health at 410-887-3828 or go to the County Department of Health website for details. The Baltimore County overdose prevention plan (PDF) is also available on the County Department of Health website. 


Revised April 6, 2016