Maryland lawmakers tackle opioid crisis with new legislation

MARYLAND – “This opioid crisis deserves the same attention and focus as we’ve given to the COVID-19 pandemic,” State Senator Mary Beth Carozza said.

That attention comes in the form of legislation as Senate Bill 394, the Statewide Target Overdose Prevention Act, increases the use and access to Naloxone which is used to help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The STOP Act, which was originally introduced in 2015, made its way back to the current legislative session. Lawmakers hopes this push will save as many lives as possible. “This legislation that Governor Hogan introduced is really a powerful tool, allowing us to use this miracle drug to save lives for those who have been most impacted by opioids and opioid abuse,” Senator Carozza said.

“Sometimes there’s spikes and jumps with our fatal overdoses, in particular locally, and a lot of that, we think, is due to the availability of Narcan and Naloxone,” Worcester County Health Department’s Travis Brown said.

Health experts say that while this expanding access is crucial in the fight to save lives, the focus must be on the full recovery journey. “There are so many people in our community that can overcome and well manage their substance abuse, but unfortunately they just take a medication with no treatment,” said Clinical Psychologist for Peninsula Mental Health Services’ Michael Finegan, PhD, ABPP.

“Whenever we see Narcan and Naloxone in distribution, we also want to pair it with resources. We have our safe stations here locally where people can enter recovery immediately,” Brown said.

Experts say that help doesn’t have to be left to the professionals. “You never know if you’re going to be walking through a parking lot or a department store and might encounter someone having an overdose. If you have Narcan and Naloxone with you and know how to use it, you might just save that persons life,” Brown said.

The Worcester County Health Department offers Naloxone training for free and provides other opioid addiction resources for those who need them. To find our more information, call the health department at 410-632-1100 or click here 

The STOP Act is currently sitting in the Senate Finance Committee. The next hearing will be on February 17th.

Categories: Health, Local News, Maryland, Opioid Crisis, Opioid Resources – Right Rail