Howard County Takes Steps Towards First Detox Center

Howard County is exploring opening a residential detoxification center. Officials have taken the initial steps of securing money in the budget and forming a team to find a location for the center.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

The county’s fiscal 2018 budget began on July 1, and with it came $250,000 to help fund a capital project to choose a location and begin the design process for the center, according to the approved Capital Budget for Fiscal Year 2018.

This is the first of several steps in the process to build the center; no time line for the center’s opening or budget for the facility itself have been set by the county, said Carl DeLorenzo, the administration’s director of policy and programs.

A team including officials from the county’s health department and the county executive’s office are working rapidly to find an appropriate location to serve the still-growing number of substance abusers in Howard County, said Carl DeLorenzo, the administration’s director of policy and programs. DeLorenzo is heading up the project alongside Howard County Health Officer Maura Rossman, with the goal of choosing a location for the center within the next year, DeLorenzo said.

“In Howard County we have not bent the curve on our opioid deaths and the number of folks overdosing,” Rossman said. “It is not going away.”

The gap in treatment grew even larger this year, after the county’s only outpatient clinic for those with substance abuse disorders who are Medicaid recipients or uninsured closed at the end of 2016.

Rossman said she wants to create a center that can offer the most intense form of treatment, inpatient detoxification, to residents. Detoxification is the process of transitioning from a state of intoxication to being “clean” and no longer presenting any symptoms related to a drug, said Andrew Angelino, chairman of the psychiatry department at Howard County General Hospital. The withdrawal process during detoxification from a drug is painful, and for opioid users, can include muscle cramps, diarrhea and other severe flu symptoms, Angelino said.

The center could also potentially provide services for the entire spectrum of treatment for substance abuse, including prevention and intervention, crisis stabilization, detoxification,recovery and treatment, but DeLorenzo said until the budget for the center itself is set, it’s difficult to know what will be available.

Read The Baltimore Sun to learn more.

MACo will be hosting a forum at our 2017 Summer Conference on the opioid crisis. The Opioid Forum: Combating the Crisis, will be moderated by  Clay Stamp, Executive Director of the Opioid Operational Command Center (OCCC) and held on Saturday, August 19, 2017 from 10:00 am – 11:15 am. More details about the session are available in the registration brochure.

The MACo summer conference is August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland. This year’s theme is “You’re Hired!”.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: