Panels of experts spoke about successes and challenges to addressing the issue opioid abuse and overdoses at the June 12, 2014 MACo Substance Abuse Summit at Cecil College. While the morning’s presentation’s focused primarily on prevention and treatment efforts, the afternoon sessions focused on innovations in public safety as well as courts and diversion programs. As reported in the Cecil Whig:
Law enforcement officials explained what they are doing in Maryland to slow down the amount of illegal drugs coming into the state and how they are attempting to reduce drug-related violence and overdose deaths during a statewide conference held at Cecil College on Thursday.
It was part of a daylong symposium sponsored by Maryland Association of Counties to take a closer look at how different jurisdictions are addressing substance abuse and related crimes.
“We’re not talking about bad people. We’re talking about people who made a bad choice,” said Maj. James R. Pyles, commander of the northern command of the criminal enforcement division of the Maryland State Police.
“The average heroin user is an 18- to 34-year-old male,” said Pyles, whose command is based in Cecil County.
“In 2013, we made a total of 400 arrests in Cecil County, resulting in confiscation of 3,700 prescription pills and 9,000 grams of heroin valued at $3 million,” Pyles said. “We can’t arrest our way out of this problem.”
He said that law enforcement must continue to maximize its use of technology to be more effective.
Additional speakers that highlighted the role of law enforcement and the courts in reducing drug-related crime and violence as well as reducing overdose deaths included: Glenn Fueston, Director of the Investigative Support Center (ISC), Washington/Baltimore, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA); Kevin Davis, Chief of Police, Anne Arundel County Police Department; Jennifer Moore, Deputy Executive Director, Drug Treatment Courts, Office of Problem Solving Courts (OPSC); Kevin Amado, Program Director, Circuit Court of Baltimore City, Addictions Assessment Unit, Pretrial Release Services Division; and Barry Janney, Sheriff, Cecil County.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, 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.