WICOMICO COUNTY, Md. - Wicomico County leaders are looking to add to their team of professionals focused on stemming the flow of the nationwide opioid epidemic.
Today, the Wicomico County Council approved funding that will pave the way to create a new job on the Opioid Intervention Team.
The county health department has the go-ahead from the state and county to create a brand new position aimed at addressing the opioid epidemic.
Health Department official, Lori Brewster says her team needs help.
"As part of our strategic planning group decided that we needed an opioid coordinator on staff to help us look at data apply for funding work across agencies that are represented by the strategic planning group."
The new opioid coordinator will join a staff of 17 on the Opioid Intervention Team. Both the state and county are on-board with the change and are pitching in to support the addition.
Brewster says the newly earmarked funds will help in several areas.
"We received a total funding allotment of 116-thousand dollars which is going to help us purchase some naloxone for community support and that effort as well as first-responder efforts as well as doing some advertising."
Council president, John Cannon says the Health Department has been a trailblazer in tackling the opioid problem.
He hopes the money Wicomico is approving will help support the programming.
"The state has chosen to model a lot of other county programs after the COAT program that Wicomico County started about a year ago. We've been very successful in our efforts to battle opioid addiction."
Agency health officer, Brewster says there's no information just yet on how much the position will pay, but the department is casting it's net wide to find good candidates.
"Its based on the state allocation. The state has salary scales. So it will be based upon that as well as an individuals experience and education. We're going to start from scratch looking for individuals that have the background we need in reviewing data as well as the ability to work across agencies."
The opening will be posted on the health department's site, published in local newspapers and on the state job site.
Just last week, Wicomico Health officials tweeted that there have already been seven overdose deaths in the county so far this year.
The department is holding a community forum on the opioid epidemic on October 19, 2017 at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center.
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