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Outlines Key Recommendations to Accelerate the County’s Response to the Opioid Epidemic

The Opioid Response Working Group convened by County Executive Johnny Olszewski today released its draft report (PDF), which identifies 11 recommendations the County should consider as it continues its efforts to combat overdose deaths, expand access to treatment and prevent addiction.

The recommendations fall into seven categories, including:

  1. Stigma
  2. Prevention
  3. Treatment
  4. Recovery
  5. Family support
  6. Criminal justice
  7. Harm reduction

The draft report and link to the public comment survey are available online. Members of the public have the opportunity to provide feedback on the recommendations until Wednesday, October 2, and a final report will follow.

On Track for Fewer Overdose Deaths

“I’m encouraged that numbers so far this year show that we’re on track for fewer overdose deaths, but every overdose death means the loss of a son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, neighbor and friend. We have a moral obligation to direct our resources toward evidence-based strategies that will save lives and help people overcome the disease of addiction,” Olszewski said. “I’m grateful to the Working Group members for their efforts thus far and I look forward to hearing the public’s response to the proposed recommendations.”

Baltimore County has the second highest number of overdose deaths in the state—in 2018, 348 people died from opioid-related overdoses, up from 323 in 2017. Olszewski’s Transition Team made a number of recommendations (PDF) related to tackling the opioid epidemic, including the appointment of an Opioid Strategy Coordinator to spearhead efforts to address the crisis across the government.

About the Opioid Response Working Group

The Opioid Response Working Group was announced in May, and the group gathered public input through an online survey and two public meetings, as well as information from experts and stakeholders.

“The working group members were delighted to serve and are very grateful to the members of the public who came forward with their insights,” said John Chessare, President and CEO of GMBC HealthCare and chair of the Opioid Response Working Group. “We look forward to working with the County in implementing the recommendations to further reduce opioid addiction and its effects on our community.”

The Working Group has received technical support from staff at the Baltimore County Department of Health, and faculty and students at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with support from the Bloomberg American Health Initiative.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017