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Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center Hosts Opioid Intervention Team Swap & Share

December 14, 2017

ANNAPOLIS, MD
 — Today, Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center hosted a “Swap & Share” for Opioid Intervention Teams (OIT) across the state. Held at the James N. Robey Public Safety Training Center in Howard County, local partners shared promising practices in the fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic with OIT leads from Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions.

Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford provided welcome remarks, inspiring even more collaboration and innovation among participants. “It’s at the local level – in neighborhoods, in schools, in places of worship – where we all are making the biggest impact in fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic,” he said. “Individually, you are changing your communities, but by working together even more and by replicating what you learn today in your own neighborhoods, just think about how we can change our state and its future.”

“Every day, we are making progress by eliminating stigma in our communities. We’re talking more so that those who need help can come forward and ask for it. We’re encouraging safe disposal of unused medications through drug takeback programs, and we’re seeing treatment expand,” said Clay Stamp, executive director, Opioid Operational Command Center. “While we have to acknowledge the devastating effects of this crisis, we cannot forget that we are seeing momentum build all across the state.”

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman, Maryland Department of Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader, executive director of Maryland Emergency Management Agency Russell J. Strickland, and associate director of Maryland Association of Counties Natasha Mehu also attended and made welcome remarks.

Presentations included information on Baltimore City LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion), emergency petitions in St. Mary’s County and Cumberland City, SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) in the Howard County Detention Center, and Washington County’s day reporting center.

Participants learned more about Safe Stations and the mobile crisis team in Anne Arundel County, the COAT (Community Outreach Addiction Team) program in Wicomico County, hospital emergency department overdose support services from Bon Secours Health System, and Access Carroll – Integrated Behavioral Health, Substance Use Treatment, Resource Support, and Case Management in Carroll County. 

Representatives from Baltimore City also spoke about its syringe exchange and overdose and rapid detection effort, the Baltimore/Washington HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas) shared its Overdose Detection (OD) Map, Kent County OIT leads presented on its opioid community intervention project, Talbot County described Project Purple, a community outreach effort, and Harford County shared H.O.P.E. House, its mobile educational tool.

“Today gave us a good opportunity to hear what other jurisdictions are doing successfully in combatting the heroin and opioid epidemic,” said Carroll County health officer Ed Singer. “Now, we get to go back and determine how we can use some of these promising practices in our communities, ensuring that they work for us.”

At the local level, OITs are set up in each of Maryland’s jurisdictions and led by the emergency manager and health officer. They are multi-agency coordination bodies that coordinate with the community, and complement and integrate with the statewide opioid response effort.

Before It’s Too Late is the state’s effort to bring awareness to the heroin and opioid epidemic-and to mobilize resources for effective prevention, treatment, and recovery. Marylanders grappling with a substance use disorder can find help at BeforeItsTooLateMD.org and 1-800-422-0009, the state crisis hotline.

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