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DEA Educational Foundation Hosts “Understanding the Opioid Epidemic: A Call to Action”

Opioid Operational Command Center Joined State and Local Partners, and the Business Community

April 26, 2018

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Yesterday, the Opioid Operational Command Center joined the DEA Educational Foundation, state and local partners, and the business community to address the impact of Maryland’s opioid crisis. Held at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, participants discussed ways to coordinate and build a coalition of leaders to fight this epidemic.

Keynote speaker Gary Tuggle, who is deputy commissioner of the Baltimore Police Department, explained the history of the opioid epidemic and gave an update on the severity of the crisis today. Tuggle was previously the Special Agent in Charge for the Baltimore Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“By bringing together these leaders in the business and local communities, we are expanding how we fight the opioid epidemic,” says Clay Stamp, executive director, Opioid Operational Command Center. “It’s a call to action to think about how we engage in combatting this crisis together and how we move forward.”

Also in attendance were Kelly M. Schulz, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Bill Alden, chairman, DEA Educational Foundation; Wanda Draper, executive director of the museum; and Evan Behrle, special advisor for Opioid Policy, Baltimore City Health Department.

“The opioid epidemic impacts every part of a person’s life. The potential loss of employment due to addiction, as well as the ability to re-enter the workforce during or after recovery, are major concerns to individuals wanting to seek help,” said Secretary Schulz. “Through the leadership of Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, the Department of Labor is working with other state agencies and stakeholders to develop outreach initiatives to industry groups on how to best work with employees to get the help they need. Employers are a crucial part of maintaining economic growth in our state, and we are dedicated to assisting them with determining available resources.”

Before It’s Too Late is the state’s effort to bring awareness to this 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 24/7 State Crisis Hotline.

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