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Keyword: report

Recommendations to Prevent Opioid Addiction, Expand Treatment and Reduce Overdose Deaths Released

The Opioid Response Working Group convened by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today released its final report (PDF), which includes 11 recommendations to prevent addiction, expand access to treatment and reduce overdose deaths.

The recommendations fall into seven categories, including stigma, prevention, treatment, recovery, family support, criminal justice, and harm reduction.

“Every overdose death means the loss of a son, daughter, mother, father, brother, sister, neighbor and friend. We must act strategically and decisively to address this devastating epidemic,” County Executive Olszewski said. “While we are proud of the tangible steps we are taking to address this epidemic, every death is preventable and we must continue to do more. I commend our working group for listening to people across the county and producing a set of specific recommendations to help us take immediate action and save lives.”

Statistics

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. In the first six months of 2019, the county saw a small decline in the number of overdose deaths, but there were still 187 drug and alcohol overdose deaths in the county in that period.

Olszewski named an Opioid Strategy Coordinator and in May, he created the Opioid Response Working Group. The Working Group gathered public input through an online survey and two public meetings, as well as information from experts and stakeholders. A draft report was released in September with an opportunity for public comment.

“We appreciate the engagement of so many people across the county sharing their knowledge and experience on the opioid crisis,” said working group chair and President and CEO of GBMC HealthCare System Dr. John Chessare. “These recommendations reflect this input and will set the County on a path for further progress.”

The Recommendations

The working group recommendations released today are:

  1. The Department of Health should develop and launch an expanded campaign to reduce stigma against people who use drugs and medication-based treatment for opioid use disorder.
  2. Baltimore County Public Schools should implement programs that build resilience among and support for youth.
  3. The Department of Health should build partnerships with government and community organizations to prevent opioid misuse by addressing social determinants of substance use.
  4. The Department of Health should set standards for providing addiction treatment in hospitals, primary care clinics, mental health programs, and addiction treatment programs. These standards should include offering individuals with opioid use disorder treatment with FDA-approved medications.
  5. The County should revise zoning restrictions to permit more opioid treatment programs that meet standards for high quality to serve county residents.
  6. The Department of Health should consider hub and spoke or similar models that support patients with different levels of complexity and changing needs over the course of treatment.
  7. The Department of Planning should develop a proposal to address barriers to the opening of recovery housing in Baltimore County. The proposal should receive public comment and be considered for adoption by the Planning Board, County Council, and County Executive..  
  8. The Department of Health and Human Services should strengthen family support in two high-priority areas: for pregnant and parenting individuals and their families, and for family members of individuals affected by addiction.
  9. Baltimore County should make treatment with all three FDA-approved medications available to all individuals with opioid use disorder in the County correctional system.
  10. The Police Department should develop a plan to adopt a formal program that diverts individuals with a substance use disorder to treatment services instead of incarceration.
  11. The Department of Health should expand access to harm reduction programs based in evidence for populations at risk of overdose.

The working group today also released responses (PDF) to the online survey and comments received about the draft report.

The full Report of Findings and Recommendations (PDF) is available for downloading and on the County's webpage for the Opioid Response Working Group.


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.


By Dave Lykens, Acting Director
Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability

County environmental officials can’t be everywhere, so we appreciate it when people let us know when they see (or smell) something that doesn’t seem right to them. Reports from the public are a great compliment to our water quality monitoring.

The head of a stream.

Know Who to Call

If you see an environmental emergency, call one of the following 24-hour emergency lines:

  • Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Utilities
    Call 410-887-7415 to report sewage overflows from a manhole, pumping station or elsewhere.
  • Maryland Department of the Environment’s Emergency Response Division
    Call 1-866-633-4686 if you come across evidence of a chemical spill or a fish kill.
  • Baltimore County 911 Emergency
    Call 911 to immediately report a dangerous or potentially life-threatening situation. You can also call 911 if you see someone illegally dumping trash and debris.

Report Pollution Online

Piles of garbage bags.

To report less time-critical issues, such as a pile of dumped trash, wash water or other suspicious liquids flowing into a storm drain or stream, contact our Watershed Managers. You can report pollution online or by calling 410-887-5683 during regular business hours (between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.) on weekdays.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017