$3M Targeted at Fighting Maryland’s Heroin Epidemic

Governor Larry Hogan announced today that his administration is allocating $3 million in state grants to help eradicate Maryland’s heroin epidemic. The funding will fulfill two key recommendations of the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force.

From a press release,

A total of $931,371 will go toward funding a heroin coordinator in law enforcement agencies in every region of the state, while a total of $2,070,397 will go to nine jurisdictions to continue the Safe Streets Initiative, an offender-based program that tracks down and arrests the most serious, violent, and repeat offenders while connecting those offenders struggling with substance abuse to drug treatment, health care, education, and other services. This year, five Safe Streets sites will be funded to hire peer recovery specialists to integrate treatment into the model.

Both programs will support the recommendations of the Heroin & Opioid Emergency Task Force, which released its report after holding regional stakeholder summits to hear first-hand about the ravages of the epidemic on communities throughout the state. The Heroin Coordinator Grant Program will support one of the 33 recommendations made by the Task Force: the state should designate the Baltimore-Washington High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) as the central repository for all Maryland drug intelligence by providing funds for salary or overtime support for a heroin coordinator to do the vital work of data input and analysis. Sharing and analyzing this data across jurisdictions will make it easier for law enforcement to identify drug traffickers.

The Peer Recovery Specialist Program also fulfills the Task Force’s recommendation that peer recovery specialists be integrated into the Safe Streets model. These recommendations are part of a holistic approach that balances law enforcement, treatment, and prevention programs. The goal is to track down drug traffickers, protect young people from becoming involved with illegal drugs, and provide treatment and resources for those struggling with substance abuse and addiction.

“Throughout Maryland, from our smallest town to our biggest city, heroin is destroying lives,” said Governor Hogan. “A coordinated law enforcement and treatment response is essential to our administration’s ability to help fight this epidemic and provide our citizens with the lifesaving support they need. These heroin coordinators will work to ensure that every drug seizure, arrest, and investigation is documented and uploaded into extensive shared databases to give us a clear picture of the paths these deadly drugs take to get into our communities. And our peer recovery specialists will work to ensure offenders with addictions get the treatment and support they need to get on the road to recovery.”

Read the full press release for more information.

Opioids and the innovative efforts counties are putting forward to counter the crisis will be discussed at the MACo Summer Conference session”Counties Confront Substance Abuse: What’s Now, What’s New, and What’s Next”, from 1:00 pm -2:00 pm, Friday, August 19, 2016 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland.

Attendees of the MACo Summer Conference will also have the opportunity to attend on-site training to be certified and equipped with naloxone.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Questions? vwhite@mdcounties.org