Opioid Challenges Continue, Pushing States to “Outside the Box” Approaches

Rhode Island will authorize its communities to approve safe injection sites, as a novel approach to combat the public health consequences of opioid and heroin abuse.

From coverage on Route Fifty, Rhode Island has passed legislation approving local governments’ establishment of safe sites for drug injection, part of a harm reduction effort to combat outcomes arising from opioid crises:

Rhode Island is the first state to authorize a drug injection site program meant to combat the opioid epidemic and reduce the number of fatal overdoses.

Gov. Daniel McKee signed the legislation this week that will allow cities and municipalities to approve the operation of so-called harm reduction centers, where people can ingest illegal drugs under the supervision of medical professionals.

There’s significant interest in Providence to open a center, according to state Sen. Joshua Miller, a sponsor of the legislation. But it’s unclear to what end any future proposal would face opposition—either locally or from the federal government.

While Maryland has not passed a comparable measure, like nearly every state, we remain entrenched in our own battle with opioids.

The latest on the opioid crisis, and tools for your county to address it in the workplace and the community, will be among the focus areas for the upcoming MACo Summer Conference:

Wednesday Forum – Opioid Operational Command Center

  • America’s Opioid Crisis: A Dialog on Maryland’s Efforts and Your County’s Role
  • Description:COVID-19 may have stolen the headlines recently, but the country and state continue to face a serious opioid crisis. Leaders on the front lines of the opioid fight will discuss the latest developments in this effort; the most productive steps being taken in our state and elsewhere; and the partnerships that lie ahead for Maryland’s counties, providers, and everyone else enlisted in this critical fight. Bring your community’s success stories, your critical thinking skills, and your notebook for a practical discussion about this vexing problem.
  • Date/Time: Wednesday, August 18, 2021; 3:45 pm – 4:45 pm

Read about all the sessions being offered at MACo’s Summer Conference

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties