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Baltimore County News

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Keyword: opioids

Show Airs on Cable Channel 25 and Online

The latest edition of Baltimore County’s half-hour cable television public affairs show, “Hello Baltimore County,” takes on some challenging issues this month, outlining the resources available to help address opioid addiction and prevent suicide. The show also offers an expert opinion on how to prepare for flooding and other potential emergencies.               

Are You Prepared? Emergencies can happen without warning. Learn what you should know and do to protect your family.

What’s Up Doc?  Baltimore County’s top doc, Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch explains why opioid overdose rates are worse than ever and describes the help that is available.

Suicide Can Often be Prevented – Find out about the resources available through the Baltimore County Crisis Response System.

You can also view the show on the County website’s Hello Baltimore County page. In addition to online access, the program runs several times per week on Cable Channel 25 in Baltimore County, at the following times:

Mondays: 1:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m.

Tuesdays: 12 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9 p.m.

Wednesdays: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 4 p.m., 10 p.m.

Thursdays: 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 8 p.m.

Fridays: 11 a.m., 6 p.m.

Saturdays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

Sundays: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

Emergency Room Staff, Certified Peer Counselors and Naloxone: Working Together to Save Lives

As part of a multi-pronged approach to stem the tide of opioid overdose deaths, the Baltimore County Department of Health and elected officials provided naloxone to four Baltimore County hospitals today. Greater Baltimore Medical Center, MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, Northwest Hospital and University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center each received approximately 1,200 doses of the medication to distribute to high risk patients being discharged from the hospitals. 

“Naloxone saves lives but only if it is available on the spot, in the moment it is needed,” said Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler. “This important partnership with our hospitals means we empower their peer support counselors to get this life-saving medication into the hands of family and friends who can save the lives of their loved ones.”

Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services presented the hospitals with a supply of NARCAN® (an intra-nasal brand of naloxone) calling it the drug of second chances. “Naloxone works! We know that this drug saves lives when administered in time,” said Dr. Branch. “Making it available in our local emergency rooms can mean giving someone a second chance to change their life trajectory.”

“We are honored to team with Baltimore County in our commitment to reduce opioid deaths,” said Sandy Winfield, MS, FACHE, vice president of Clinical and Support Services at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. “We are grateful for this generous donation that unfortunately, has become vitally important to the cause.”

“I strongly believe that by working together, community hospitals and our county government can make a serious impact,” said Jeffrey P. Sternlicht, MD, FACEP, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. “We are proud to be a part of this collaborative effort to provide the delivery of this life-saving medication and to help those that are struggling with their addiction.”

Providing naloxone to the four Baltimore County hospitals is just one of the ways the Department of Health is working to reduce the number of deaths caused by opioid overdose. The County has also increased the number of certified peer recovery specialists who focus on helping others to break the grip of addiction. These peer recovery specialists will work with others connected with the four hospitals to provide support, resources and services to people in the community as well as those who have been treated in local emergency rooms for addiction-related issues.   

Distribution of naloxone is also a part of ongoing training sessions that occur across Baltimore County each month. These free, two-hour sessions provide education to the community about the dangers of illicit opioid use, available resources for those in need of services, and instructions on how to effectively administer the drug to reverse an opioid overdose.

Visit or call 410-887-3224 for a listing of upcoming training dates and locations.

County to Build In-Patient On-Demand Treatment Facility in Owings Mills

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that Baltimore County will renovate a County-owned building on the Rosewood campus in Owings Mills to house a privately-operated treatment program providing on-demand residential treatment for some 300 people per year. The facility is expected to open in November of 2019 with approximately 70 beds. 

“Making additional treatment beds available will go a long way to providing the intensive, personalized care needed to help stem this public health epidemic,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

The treatment facility will be located in the Richards Building on the campus of the former Rosewood State Hospital in Owings Mills. The cost of the renovation is projected to be in the range of $2.5 to $3 million.  The renovations are expected to take 12 to 18 months with the facility estimated to be open in 18 months. The County will issue a Request for Quotations (RFQ) seeking a private partner to run the opioid treatment program at our newly renovated facility.  The RFQ process will take several months.

“This is a tremendously positive life-saving initiative for the entire Baltimore County community, and Rosewood is a good choice for such a greatly needed health resource,” said Council Chair Julian Jones.

The Opioid Issue

The rate of overdose deaths involving opioids has increased 200% since 2000. Of particular concern is the number of fentanyl-related deaths which have continued to increase in the county since 2010.

The opioid epidemic has impacted Baltimore County in several other ways, including increases in the number of substance exposed newborns, increases in the number of children entering foster care and increases in the number of County residents seeking treatment options.

The Baltimore County Department of Health provides resources and linkage to care for substance abusers and their families, offers a broad range of programs and services to prevent substance abuse, and develops, coordinates, and monitors a countywide network of substance abuse prevention and treatment services.

The following services are available in various locations throughout the County:

  • Outpatient treatment
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Residential treatment
  • Peer Recovery support services
  • Family support and education
  • Overdose response training
  • Walk-in Assessment Clinics

People may call the Baltimore County Department of Health at 410-88-REACH (73224) for additional information about any of these resources.

“I am so excited to have so many additional beds for treatment on demand,” said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of the Baltimore County Department of Social Services. “This will truly be a lifesaving effort.” 

County Suing Pharmaceutical Companies

On April 25, Baltimore County filed a federal lawsuit against several pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors of opioids, seeking monetary damages incurred by the County.

“We believe that the pharmaceutical industry pressured doctors into prescribing opioids for chronic pain, and purposely misrepresented the risk of addiction,” Kamenetz said. “The desire to increase profits on the part of drug companies is a leading cause of our nation’s health crisis, and we are fighting back.”

Revised September 11, 2017