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Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford Speaks at Opening of Maryland’s First Crisis Stabilization Center

Will Connect Those in Need to Treatment, Resources

March 28, 2018

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford today joined Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh, Maryland Department of Health Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health Dr. Barbara J. Bazron, and Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen to announce the opening of Maryland’s first crisis stabilization center. The stabilization center will provide basic first aid, withdrawal management, and screening and referral to treatment on-site for individuals with a substance use disorder.

“As the first of its kind in Maryland, this stabilization center will help us connect those in need of treatment to the resources they need to get better,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “We hope to replicate this effort in other parts of the state to support our ongoing collaborative efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.”

“Like many cities across our country, Baltimore is working to counteract the opioid epidemic that has devastated families and disrupted whole communities,” said Mayor Pugh. “This first-of-its-kind ‘Stabilization Center’ will provide critical resources for those dealing with the disease of addiction and support their determination to get their lives back on track and become productive citizens of our community. I am grateful to my former colleagues of the Maryland General Assembly and Governor Hogan for providing the funding for this treatment and support center. I am also grateful to our Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen, for leading this important initiative.”

The stabilization center will be located at Tuerk House, a community-based behavioral health provider in west Baltimore at 703 Ashburton Street. Tuerk House will administer services at the stabilization center with oversight from Behavioral Health System Baltimore, the city’s local behavioral health authority.

“Individuals in crisis will have immediate access to services at the stabilization center. Each person then will receive a ‘warm handoff’ to the appropriate community services and peer support,” said Dr. Bazron.

“Patients in need of addiction and mental health services should be able to access treatment at the time that the need it, which is what we would provide for people requesting help for any other disease,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “I thank Mayor Pugh for her leadership, and the Maryland Legislature, Governor’s office, and the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission for making this center—the beginning of an ‘ER’ for addiction and mental health—a reality. The Stabilization Center is one step in the right direction to provide 24/7 access to evidence-based, compassionate treatment to all of our residents.”

Crisis and stabilization services provided at the stabilization center will divert individuals under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol from emergency rooms, as well as safely stabilize and connect them to treatment and community supports. All individuals coming to the center will be transported by Baltimore City Emergency Medical Service (EMS) or a mobile crisis response team. People will stay at the center for six to ten hours. They also will be provided with 30 days of case management services. Case management will help support people by connecting them to behavioral health services in the community.

Operating with 15 beds, it is anticipated the center will serve approximately 500 people in the first year, with plans to expand access in future years. The center will be staffed by a clinical team of nurses, social workers, and peer recovery advocates (individuals in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder).

“This partnership between Behavioral Health System Baltimore, the Baltimore City Health Department, and the State of Maryland exemplifies how we are all working together, at all levels, to fight the opioid crisis,” said Clay Stamp, executive director of the Opioid Operational Command Center.

The Hogan-Rutherford Administration provided $2.6 million to Baltimore City to establish the stabilization center – $2 million from the federal 21st Century Cures Act awarded to the Maryland Department of Health in Fiscal Year 2018 and a $600,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Health’s Maryland Community Health Resources Commission.

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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