Governor Announces Legislative Package Tackling Heroin and Opioid Epidemic

Governor Larry Hogan has announced a duo of bills the administration will introduce to combat the state’s heroin and opioid epidemic.

As announced in a press release:

Governor Hogan is proposing legislation that would amend Maryland’s Gang Statute to better model it after the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO). The federal RICO Act, originally passed in 1970 to combat organized crime, has been expanded and used to go after a variety of organizations, from corrupt police departments to motorcycle gangs. Although 33 states have also adopted similar state RICO laws, Maryland has not.

The governor’s proposed changes would aid in the prosecution of, and provide civil penalties for, drug traffickers as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise.

Another crucial tool to combat the state’s heroin and opioid epidemic, the Maryland Prescription Drug Monitoring Program was created to assist health professionals and law enforcement in identifying and investigating prescription drug use and abuse. However, despite consistent increases in user registration and access since implementation, widespread adoption of the Monitoring Program has not yet occurred.

In order to make the Monitoring Program a more robust tool in the fight against prescription opioid abuse, Governor Hogan’s proposed bill would make improvements to the system while phasing in mandatory registration and use.

The two bills were generated from recommendations made by the governor’s Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force. The task force released its final report in December 2015.

For more information read the full press release.


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