The Overdose Prevention Council has released a report highlighting its efforts since created by Governor Martin O’Malley in June in response to the alarming upward trend in overdose fatalities. Highlights from the report include:
- Maryland State Police dismantling a drug trafficking operation on the Upper Eastern Shore
- The launch of a public awareness campaign including posters, brochures, emergency cards and online outreach
- A pilot program that allows Baltimore City EMS to provide individuals suspected of overdosing with treatment referrals
- The expansion of the training, equipment and use of Naloxone by first responders and police officers responding to an individual experiencing overdose
- A Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) plan to address substance abuse treatment in the released detainee and prison populations
- A partnership with pharmacies to stock Naloxone in stores across Maryland
The report noted that the work of the council built upon other state efforts including resources for recovery services, the development of the Overdose Response Program, Local Overdose Fatality Review Teams, the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, increased data sharing, and the Good Samaritan law for limited criminal immunity for assisting someone suffering from an overdose.
The Council is tasked in part with advising the Governor on a statewide plan to reduce fatal and non-fatal overdoses as well as developing recommendations for policies, regulations or legislation to address the opioid overdose epidemic. In accordance with the executive order the Council provides quarterly updates and an annual report on its efforts to reduce overdose deaths by 20 percent by the end of 2015.