WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded $338,292 to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to establish the Maryland Opioid Surveillance System Improvement Program. The program will address the rising rate of opioid-related overdoses, with a specific focus on heroin and synthetic opioids such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl.
The Maryland DHMH will establish an early warning system to detect sharp increases or decreases in nonfatal opioid overdoses; collect information on the number and rate of opioid overdose deaths to inform a more targeted, timely public health response; analyze information from toxicology tests and death scene investigations; provide information on risk factors that contribute to opioid overdose deaths; and, examine adverse outcomes related to neonatal abstinence syndrome surveillance and research.
“This grant represents a federal investment in our fight to combat the ongoing opioid crisis, which continues to impact families in every corner of our state,” said Senator Ben Cardin. “This monitoring system will help us better track and understand the epidemic, assist our rapid response efforts and predict emerging opioid trends. I’m glad to have such a powerful new tool coming to Maryland.”
“We must use every tool at our disposal to fight the opioid epidemic that is devastating so many communities in our state,” said Senator Van Hollen. “Accurate and timely information on opioid abuse is key to saving lives and preventing the next fatal outbreak of overdoses. This funding will establish a statewide surveillance system to address the rising rate of opioid overdoses across Maryland and inform a rapid public health response”
The funding is available through the CDC’s Enhanced State Surveillance of Opioid-Involved Morbidity and Mortality program, which helps states develop and adapt surveillance systems to address the rising rate of opioid-related overdoses. The program specifically focuses on heroin and synthetic opioids such as illicitly manufactured fentanyl.