COVID-19 and Opioids: Pandemic vs. Epidemic

Despite continuing focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, public health officials remain concerned with opioid overdose and overdose-related death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released data indicating a record number of opioid overdose-related deaths directly coinciding with onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Between March of 2020 and March of 2021, Maryland reported 2,826 opioid overdose-related deaths, a dramatic increase from 2,381 during the previous 12-month period. The CDC notes these numbers are…

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Howard County Provides $1.5 Million in Residential Treatment Grants

On Tuesday, October 5th, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced a record $1.5 million in grants for residential treatment facilities throughout the county, including Tuerk/Howard House, Hilda’s Place, and Sheppard Pratt.  In a press release, County Executive Ball said the following: "These $1.5 million in grants will ensure safe, accessible, and successful residential treatment right here in Howard County. To safeguard a coordinated and collaborative system of care among these three residential treatment facilities in Howard…

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Prince George’s County Holds Resource Fair for Returning Residents

On Wednesday, October 13th, the Prince George's County Bridge Center at Adam’s House hosted a resource fair for County residents, focusing on formerly incarcerated citizens, returning military veterans, and transitional-aged youth. More than 50 public, private, nonprofit, and community-based organizations provided critical connections to support services and resources at the fair. Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks discussed the importance of the event in a press release: “We are so Prince George’s Proud of the Bridge Center…

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University of Maryland Shore Regional Health Launches Mobile Wellness Team

On Monday, October 11th, the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center introduced four new members of its new Mobile Wellness Team. The Mobile Wellness Team will help meet the health care needs of Kent and northern Queen Anne's county residents. It will be charged with visiting trusted community sites, including firehouses, places of worship, residential care facilities, community organizations and other social centers and also will serve patients and families in their home settings. Team staff…

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A Post-COVID Perspective on Public Health Resources, Responses

In a recent interview with Governing Magazine, Brian Castrucci, CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, outlined several measures needed to protect public health in a post-COVID future.  The Governing article discusses the need for collective action to prevent future public health crises, noting "the pandemic has cost the U.S. $16 trillion — an amount equal to 90 percent of the country’s annual GDP." Dr. Castrucci leads the de Beaumont Foundation, a Bethesda-based nonprofit that focuses on…

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Hogan Announces Plans for Baltimore City Treatment Center

On October 8th, Governor Larry Hogan announced next steps for the Baltimore Therapeutic Treatment Center, which will be housed within a redeveloped Baltimore City Pretrial Complex. The Department of General Services issued a request for proposal (RFP) to assist in the Center's development. The Baltimore Therapeutic Treatment Center is intended to provide mental health and substance use treatment services and care to nonviolent offenders upon entry into the criminal justice system. It is estimated to take 10…

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Federal Courts, Private Prisons, and Potential Conflict

A recent federal court case could have significant implications for legislatures seeking to limit or eliminate private detention centers across the country, including in Maryland. In The Geo Group, Inc. v. Newsom, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed a lower court's injunction preventing a private prison company from operating in California based on a state law, AB 32, that phases "out all private detention facilities within the state." The Court justified its…

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Howard County Council Funds New Body Camera Program

Yesterday, the Howard County Council approved $476,969 in funding to its police department, sheriff's office, and State's Attorney's Office for a new body-worn camera program. The funding measure, which includes an amendment requiring regular reporting, was approved in a 4-1 vote. As a part of the recently passed Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 (Senate Bill 71), certain law enforcement agencies must require the use of body-worn cameras by July 1, 2023. Included in the bill are the…

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State Announces $135 Million in Emergency Rental Assistance Funding

On September 30th, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) announced $135 million will be made available to assist 15,000 renters affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will be distributed through DHCD's Emergency Rental Assistance Program with $65.7 million in state program spending and $69.4 million in direct relief apportioned by local jurisdiction. DHCD elaborated on the program's focus in a press release: “The basis of our program, which was built in consultation with…

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ARPA Explained: A Recap of MACo’s 2021 Fall Symposium

On Wednesday, September 29, MACo held its 2021 Fall Symposium at the Blue Heron Center in Annapolis's Quiet Waters Park. Numerous county leaders, including several elected officials and local budget officers, traveled from across Maryland to discuss the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) with state officials and nonprofit representatives, as well as one another. The Rural Maryland Council also presented on the expansion of broadband in rural communities. The event was moderated by Chris Trumbauer, former…

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