The second regional summit for the Maryland Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force was held Wednesday, April 16, in Baltimore City. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and members of the task force heard testimony from county elected officials, treatment providers, judges, state’s attorneys, law enforcement, academics, and residents from Baltimore City, and Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Howard Counties. As reported in The Baltimore Sun:
Rutherford said the task force is looking for ways to address the prevention and treatment of addiction, and finding ways to stop the flow of cheap yet highly potent heroin into the state.
The task force heard occasionally conflicting advice, particularly from the treatment community. Some argued for greater access to medications such as Suboxone that doctors say can successfully treat addiction. Others said such regimens only substitute one drug for another without addressing the underlying problem.
Rutherford assured the audience that the task force was open to all viewpoints, and said during a break that the group wouldn’t be recommending one mode of treatment over another.
“Where I’m starting to lean a lot more is that there’s no one size that fits all,” he said. “We’re all different, and so what may work for one person may not work for another.”
Task force members, a mix of representatives from medical, advocacy, law enforcement and treatment areas, asked questions and seemed particularly interested in any studies that documented how effective different treatments and programs were.
The agenda for the Central Maryland summit and information for the future regional summits may be found on the task force’s website.