Nearly every seat was filled in the Cecil County College conference room on June 12, 2014 for the MACo Substance Abuse Summit. With over 90 people in attendance from at least 14 different counties, the summit exceeded its goals of bringing together a wide range of stakeholders to generate discussion on drug abuse, particularly opioid abuse and overdoses.
The topic was timely one as opioid overdose deaths have increased significantly in Maryland and across the country. The audience was passionate and engaged as four panels of experts–spotlighting Cecil County, advances in prevention and treatment; innovations in public safety, and courts and diversion programs–spoke about successes and challenges to addressing the issue. There was no shortage of questions or discussions following the presentations.
MACo chose Cecil County for the location of the event primarily for the high overdose rate county officials and stakeholders are working hard to bring down. However, opioid abuse and overdose deaths is a problem that touches every community in the state from rural neighborhoods to large cities.
A running theme throughout the day’s presentations was that there was no one solution. A collaborative, multifaceted response that constantly adapts to knowledge of substance use disorder and treatment, changes in demographics of the users and trends in drug use, as well as advances in tools, such as data sharing, is needed. Substance abuse is a touchy and difficult topic, that generates a lot of different view points on what should be done. It was important to bring together and hear those different views.
MACo would like to thank the panels of experts as well as people in attendance for coming together to share helpful information and further the discussion of what more can be done to treat the problem. MACo also looks forward to discussing this topic more at the MACo Summer Conference.
For more information read coverage from the Cecil County Whig.
For more information on opioid abuse, read previous coverage on Conduit Street.