MACo Associate Director Natasha Mehu testified in favor of legislation (SB 1194) which would provide greater flexibility and increased resources to local governments for substance abuse treatment and related prevention, outreach, and maintenance efforts. Drug-related deaths and crises continue to rise in epidemic proportions. Counties need support to bridge remaining gaps.
MACo’s testimony states,
The grant program supports targeted substance abuse treatment services and populations, as proposed by county governments in response to local needs. SB 1194 expands the eligible populations and uses for grant funds to address remaining challenges in addressing substance abuse to include individuals in recovery and recovery support services. It also establishes an $8.4 million annual appropriation for the fund. The program has been level-funded at $6.4 million for over a decade. In FY 16, STOP was revitalized to address changing demographics and challenges, but no new funding was appropriated.
Supporting sobriety is a key component in the opioid addiction battle. As counties continue efforts to prevent individuals from falling into addiction and to treat those who have already succumbed to it, it is essential to also provide adequate support to individuals in recovery and at risk for relapse. SB 1194 helps to provide additional resources and support to programs targeting those vulnerable individuals.
This bill was heard by the Senate Finance committee on March 29. Harford County Executive Barry Glassman joined Ms. Mehu in support of the bill.
Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.