Announced via Press Release:

June 7, 2019

Media Contact:

Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

Howard County Executive Ball Releases 2019 Report on Opioids, In-County Opioid Deaths Down 25.5%

According to the report, “the County’s aggressive approach to tackling the opioid crisis resulted in a 25.5% reduction in opioid-attributable [in-county] fatalities in 2018.”

ELLICOTT CITY – Today, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball released the 2019 report, “Response To A Crisis: Opioids in Howard County.” The report from the Howard County Health Department detailed the current statistics on overdoses, the action plan to address the crisis, and stakeholder engagement efforts. The full report can be found here.

“This report from the Howard County Health Department highlights the incredible progress we have made, as well as the obstacles that remain. I want to thank everyone at the Health Department, our emergency responders, and our community partners for working tirelessly to keep all our neighbors and loved ones healthy,” said Ball. “Looking ahead, we will continue to unite our community in the fight against opioids and addiction. Together, we can end the stigma around seeking help, increase access to treatment, and prevent substance use disorders. In the face of crisis, Howard County stands strong and united.” 

According to the report, “The County’s aggressive approach to tackling the opioid crisis resulted in a 25.5% reduction in opioid-attributable [in-county] fatalities in 2018. While the County is encouraged by the reduction in fatalities and has made progress with addressing its other goals, the work is not done. Overdoses continued to occur, with a 9.9% increase in non-fatal overdoses over the last year.” Also, these numbers only reflect incidents occurring in Howard County, and do not include residents who overdose in other jurisdictions.

Using data and lessons learned from previous efforts, the County continues to thoughtfully examine how best to address its five critical goals:

  1. Reduced rate of overdose death
  2. Reduced rate of non-fatal overdoses
  3. Increased rate of Howard County residents entering treatment for substance use disorder
  4. Reduced number of emergency department visits for opioid related incidents
  5. Reduced rate of opioids prescribed to patients

To address its five critical goals, Howard County is implementing a variety of strategies from the Crisis Response Plan that are in alignment with the State’s four pillars for addressing the opioid crisis: prevention, treatment, recovery and enforcement.

County Executive Ball remains committed to addressing the opioid crisis in Howard County. In May, he opened Howard House, the first County-owned treatment facility for individuals on the path to recovery, which is one component of a comprehensive strategy for addressing the opioid epidemic. Next steps include the construction of a new, residential treatment center through a first-of-its-kind partnership in the state between the County and Delphi Behavioral Health Group.

Howard County continues to enhance familial supports through navigation services and integrate substance use treatment within mental health programs to address the high rate of co-occurrence. With these programs, the goal is to make sure that residents seeking treatment will be able to remain here in Howard County.

Last month, Ball also announced that Howard County would be formally suing opioid makers and distributors in Circuit Court, holding them accountable for their role in causing the epidemic.

The County is also committed to providing 24/7 crisis services at Grassroots Crisis Intervention, a Narcan mailing program to overcome healthcare barriers, extended outpatient services, proper emergency room referrals to peer recovery specialists, funding for behavioral health navigators, and continuing to support naloxone training and distribution across Howard County.

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Scott E

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