Governor Larry Hogan has signed both of MACo’s 2015 legislative initiative bills to provide counties with “Broad Tools to Tackle the Drug Crisis” into law. As drug-related deaths and crises continued to rise in epidemic proportions, MACo advocated for comprehensive legislation and budget initiatives to address the growing drug problem confronting each county and the unique needs of their communities by providing broader and better tools.
At the May 12, 2015 bill signings, Governor Hogan signed SB 546 MACo’s bill to help reduce the growing number of overdose related deaths by providing civil immunity protections to properly trained emergency responders that are responding to a drug overdose call. Law enforcement or emergency medical services are often the first to arrive on the scene of a drug overdose. Therefore, strides have been made to train and equip law enforcement and first responders with naloxone, a life-saving medication that reverses an opioid overdose by restoring the breathing of a person who has overdosed on heroin or prescription opioid such as oxycodone or morphine. SB 546/HB 368 incorporates immunity protections for law enforcement and first responders trained and authorized to administer the medicine to an individual experiencing or believed to be experiencing a drug overdose.
The Governor signed MACo’s bill to revamp the Substance Abuse Treatment Outcomes Partnership (STOP) grant fund into law during the April 14, 2015 bill signings. SB 641/HB 971 revitalizes the STOP fund program housed in the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene by giving local government greater flexibility to use the grant funds for certain substance abuse treatment and related prevention and outreach efforts. The grant program supports targeted substance abuse treatment services and populations, as proposed by county governments in response to local needs. SB 641/HB 971 expands the list of eligible populations and functions for grant usage.
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