On November 21-22, OSI-Baltimore staff Tara Huffman and Michael Camlin attended the OSI-sponsored symposium, “Decriminalizing Disability: The Case for Crisis Response Services,” hosted by Disability Rights Maryland. The first day included presentations from innovative and effective crisis response and behavioral health programs around the country that shared information about their models and how they overcame barriers to successful implementation. OSI-Baltimore Addiction & Health Equity Program grantee Bmore POWER, which provides street-based peer outreach harm reduction services and education, was one program featured on Day 1. The second day was a working session for Baltimore City stakeholders to discuss how to remove barriers that prevent successful implementation of a more complete system of care in Baltimore City, with a focus on recommendations surfaced in the recent citywide gaps analysis.
“People with substance use disorders and/or mental health needs are more likely to be victims of police shootings and are over-represented in prisons and jails,” says Camlin, a program specialist in OSI’s Addiction and Health Equity and Criminal and Juvenile Justice program. “Strategies are needed to decriminalize disability and increase capacity for behavioral health resources to meet the needs in communities across Baltimore City.”