Scott Nolen, director of OSI-Baltimore’s Addiction and Health Equity program, testified Friday on behalf of the Open Society Policy Center, the advocacy arm of Open Society Foundations, to support HB 464, a bill that would create a program to pilot Overdose Prevention Sites around the state of Maryland.
Nolen criticized Maryland leadership’s lack of urgency in confronting the overdose crisis, as he did in his 2017 op-ed, “Md. opioid emergency requires unconventional approach.”
“In 2014, then-candidate Hogan said ‘What we really need is a State of Emergency over the overdose crisis,'” he recalled in yesterday’s hearing. “He was elected and that State of Emergency took too long to come and didn’t include all the things that it should have included, such as harm reduction principals in the way that we respond to the overdose crisis. From 2014, when candidate Hogan said he would declare a state of emergency, to 2018, the overdose rate increased 131% and that just can’t be so when we’re in a state of emergency.”
Watch the full hearing here. Testimony on HB 464 begins at 2:40 and Nolen’s testimony begins at 4:14.