MACo: Granting Counties Enhanced Flexibility in Treating Opioid Overdoses Will Save Lives

On March 2, 2023, Associate Policy Director Sarah Sample submitted testimony to the House Health and Government Operations Committee in support of HB 571 – Overdose Response Program – Opioid Overdose Reversal Drugs – Choice of Formulation and Dosage.

The Senate Finance Committee will consider the bill’s cross-file, SB 954, on March 21.

HB 571 requires the Maryland Department of Health to delegate to local health organizations greater purview in determining their preferred formulation and dosage of drugs used to treat and reverse opioid overdoses. At a time when the use of fentanyl is proliferating among communities already debilitated by the opioid crisis, local health departments take on an enhanced role in handling emergency situations. It is imperative that these entities have the requisite flexibility to administer effective treatment in a timely manner, and counties regard HB 571 and its cross-file as an effective means of addressing these concerns.

From the MACo Testimony:

With a stronger tool for overdose reversal programs, local health departments will be better equipped to manage the deadly and unprecedented flood of fentanyl cases especially where locals teams are finding that the current single dosage amounts are not sufficient to reverse an overdose. While a free option for reversal drugs through the existing Opioid Overdose Response Program is beneficial, counties want to make sure the treatment methods are keeping pace with the problem. This legislation ensures counties can respond to the new challenges with new solutions.

More on MACo’s Advocacy:

Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2023 legislative session on MACo’s Legislative Tracking Database

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