MD-heroin-task-force

For immediate release:
February 27, 2016
Contact:
Hannah Marr hannah.marr@maryland.gov
Shareese Churchill shareese.churchill@maryland.gov
410-974-2316

Governor Larry Hogan Addresses Investments Made in the Fight Against Heroin in Southern Maryland
Hogan Administration Has Provided More Than $400,000 to Fund Programs to Fight Addiction and Drug Trafficking in the Region

ANNAPOLIS, MD – As part of a trip to southern Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan today visited the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center, where he addressed the investments made by the administration in the southern region of the state to fight heroin and opioid addiction. Created by Governor Hogan in February 2015 and chaired by Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force was tasked with making recommendations in establishing a coordinated statewide effort to prevent, treat, and reduce heroin and opioid abuse in Maryland. The Task Force submitted its final report in December.

In the months since the Task Force hosted a regional summit in Prince Frederick, the Hogan administration has awarded more than $400,000 to fund programs in southern Maryland to provide much-needed help for families and individuals struggling with addiction.

“There was a time when heroin addiction was considered an urban problem, but that’s not the case anymore. From urban areas to suburban neighborhoods to our rural communities, heroin and opioid abuse has torn families apart and overrun local efforts to respond to what is a public health, law enforcement, and social crisis,” said Governor Hogan. “The programs we have set in place in southern Maryland aim to strengthen law enforcement’s ability to target and prosecute drug traffickers, as well as increase quality treatment options for those struggling with addiction.”

As outlined in the Interim Report of the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force, Governor Hogan directed the Behavioral Health Administration to provide $150,000 to three southern Maryland local health departments—Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s—to implement overdose education and naloxone distribution programs for individuals released from local detention centers. Additionally, treatment services for those reentering the community have been bolstered by two medication-assisted treatment reentry programs at the Calvert County Health Department and the St. Mary’s County Detention Center. The programs treat selected inmates with monthly injections of Vivitrol, a non-narcotic and non-addictive substance that blocks the euphoric effects of heroin and other opiates.

As part of the program, participants engaged in wrap-around services that include mental health treatment, education, and support in finding housing and employment.

In Charles County, the Circuit Court established a Family Recovery Court program, designed to serve parents who have a case within the Circuit Court where substance abuse is identified as a barrier preventing them from providing safe, appropriate care for their children. The Family Recovery Court uses a holistic approach to support parents and families with consistent monitoring, intensive treatment, and referrals to support services. A $98,544 grant is providing assistance with fees incurred for medication-assisted treatment and inpatient treatment for Family Recovery Court participants who are opioid-dependent and have prior or current criminal charges.

Other efforts in Charles County—through the Center for Children—are helping adolescents with substance use disorders. Grant funding of $69,000 is providing training for a new Department of Health and Mental Hygiene-licensed treatment program in southern Maryland. The Adolescent Substance Abuse Program provides substance use disorder treatment and educational services so their clients become and remain drug-free and successful in school and in their communities.

These treatment efforts are reinforced with increased law enforcement capabilities in southern Maryland. For example, last May, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office received $48,819 in grant funding for technological improvements for equipment and software that will enhance officer safety.

Solving problems and paving pathways to a better future are important roles for any government. To further that vision, the Hogan administration also announced $3 million in capital funding in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget for the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center, the site of today’s event.

The funding will be used to support new education, research, and professional training programs, as well as enrollment growth. This includes funding for the design of an academic building with classrooms, faculty offices, engineering laboratories, and research space to meet the needs of the 10 major colleges and universities that offer courses at the center.