This week, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in response to the exploding opioid overdose crisis, pledging an additional $10 million for substance use resources.
While it’s not yet clear how this extra funding will be used, OSI-Baltimore welcomed the news.
“It is great to see the Governor putting more funding into efforts to reduce the epidemic of drug overdoses in Maryland,” said OSI-Baltimore director Diana Morris.
Scott Nolen, director of OSI-Baltimore’s Drug Addiction Treatment program agrees, and suggests several ways the money could be used to reduce fatal overdoses.
“When the number of overdoses last year very likely eclipsed 2000, we need to embrace the harm reduction options that are available such as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, providing testing kits that will identify particularly potent drugs, and looking into the need for a safe consumption space where drug users can be monitored by medical staff who would have the opportunity to refer them to services. OSI-Baltimore believes in the importance of treatment but we have to use every tool available when we are in a state of emergency.”
The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, which was launched earlier this year and is funded in by OSI-Baltimore, aims to divert those arrested on low-level drug offenses to treatment and services and away from jail.