The final regional summit for the Maryland Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force was held Thursday, July 2, 2015 in Silver Spring. The summit, which focused on Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, included testimony from county leaders, local experts, law enforcement and residents. As reported in The Washington Post:
On Thursday, many called for a more nuanced approach to treatment and rehabilitation, focusing on such structural problems as education and access to health care.
Pamela Creekmur, the health officer for Prince George’s County, called for more data collection and action at the middle-school level. “That’s where the quiet revolution is occurring,” she said. “High school is almost too late.”
Uma S. Ahluwalia, Montgomery County’s director of health and human services, described the extreme disparity between addicts with access to treatment options and those struggling in poverty.
“Heroin’s cutting across all socioeconomic groups,” she said. “Nobody talks about parity between private insurance and what Medicaid covers.”
Others proposed stronger measures to support addicts in recovery and decrease heroin use. Montgomery County Circuit Court Associate Judge Nelson W. Rupp Jr., who has presided over drug court, pressed for longer stays and stringent curfew regulations, noting that “the longer a person stays in a program, the longer they’re subjected to the requirements of drug court . . . the greater the likelihood is that they will stay clean and sober,” he said.
Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy suggested raising the charges and penalties for drug dealing to deter heroin use.
Following the summit the members of the task force held a meeting to recap past summits and provide updates from the task force work groups. The task force will issue an interim report in August. The final report is due in December.
More information on the D.C. area regional summit and past regional summits may be found on the task force’s website.
The Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force and Regional Summits will be discussed at the MACo Summer Conference in the session “From the Front Lines: Tackling Opioid Misuse in Maryland.” The session will be held from 2:15 pm – 3:15 pm on Friday, August 14, 2015. The MACo Summer Conference will be held August 12-15 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland.
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For a schedule of educational sessions at MACo’s Summer Conference, please view the Registration Brochure.
Questions? Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White.