The third regional summit for the Maryland Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force was held Wednesday, April 29, in Prince Frederick. Testimony was heard from officials and residents of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s Counties. As reported on Southern Maryland Newspapers Online:
Calvert County Board of County Commissioners’ President Steve Weems (R) told the panel that according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 12 people from Calvert County died from heroin-related intoxication deaths between January and September 2014, representing the highest in the tri-county area of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s.
In the draft budget for the upcoming fiscal year, St. Mary’s County has allotted more than $4 million for programs like outpatient services, prevention and local drug and alcohol abuse councils, said St. Mary’s Board of County Commissioners’ President Randy Guy (R).
“It’s costly and it destroys lives,” he said.
President of the Charles County Board of County Commissioners Peter Murphy (D) called for the state to gear its policies toward treating individuals with addiction.
“Short-term stays for longtime addicts do not work for long-term recovery,” he said.
The commissioners relayed to the task force measures they have taken to address the problem in each of their home counties: dubbing September National Recovery Month and providing training for law enforcement officials in administering the overdose-reversing antidote Naloxone and family recovery and juvenile drug courts in Charles; and, in St. Mary’s, safe prescription pill collections, youth mentoring and parent education, St. Mary’s Commissioner John O’Connor (R) said.