On August, 31st, Overdose Awareness Day, the OSI-supported BRIDGES Coalition launched a campaign to rally community support to bring life-saving Overdose Prevention Sites to Maryland.
As the BRIDGES press release explains, the campaign was inspired by an exchange during a Maryland Senate committee hearing on Overdose Prevention Sites, when Senator Delores Kelly said of OPS, “It might be needed, but I can’t think of anyone in this room who would want this on their block” (watch video starting at 3:20:00 mark). Ron Phillips of Bmore POWER, a member of the BRIDGES Coalition, immediately responded, “I can,” and several OPS advocates in the room immediately raised their hands in agreement.
“We BRIDGES organizers have had conversations with thousands of people through dozens of events. We know there is a groundswell of community support for OPS across Maryland and definitely in Baltimore City” Phillips says. “Some policymakers already hear the call for bold, community-based solutions to end overdose in our city.”
In the 2021 legislative session, Mayor Brandon Scott testified in support of Overdose Prevention Sites, but a bill that would establish pilot sites throughout the state did not pass out of committee.
As part of the campaign, BRIDGES has created an Action Network petition for Baltimore city residents to state their support for Overdose Prevention Sites and urge the Baltimore City Council to do the same.