ANNAPOLIS, MD — On Jan. 15, the Maryland Department of Health released its Unintentional Drug And Alcohol-Related Intoxication Death Report for the third quarter of 2018. Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center has been working with the Maryland Department of Health and other state agencies, partners, and local jurisdictions to address the epidemic.
“In Maryland, we are ensuring that the systems we are putting in place to fight the opioid epidemic are working,” said Steve Schuh, executive director of the Opioid Operational Command Center. “That means we are coordinating closely with our federal, state, and local partners and regularly monitoring progress through a series of performance measures.”
“The Department works closely with the Opioid Operational Command Center to provide state and local response partners with the information they need to combat the opioid epidemic,” said Maryland Department of Health Secretary Robert R. Neall. “When it comes to supporting our local jurisdictions in preventing opioid overdoses, timely dissemination of information on overdose spikes and fatalities is key in connecting individuals to treatment and educational resources.”
A core function of the Opioid Operational Command Center is to facilitate information sharing to support the public health and public safety response. Prior to the 2018 Maryland legislative session, state and local partners communicated a need for timely information on fatal and non-fatal overdoses that could be shared with other government partners to help guide the opioid response.
Now, state and local partners are using the ODMap technology platform developed by the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (W/B HIDTA). Signed into law in April 2018 and having taken effect in July 2018, the Overdose Data Reporting Act allows emergency medical services providers and law enforcement officers to input and share data about opioid overdoses. This enables first responders to track this information and allocate public health resources.
Additionally, the ODMap platform has the ability to identify overdose spikes that rise above predetermined thresholds, and the system generates an alert that notifies public health and public safety leadership when a spike occurs. Between July 1 and November 30, 2018, ODMap sent 85 overdose spike alerts to 40 enrolled public health and safety users in Maryland. Upon learning of an overdose spike, resources can be mobilized rapidly to address the spike, including saturating the area with naloxone, mobilizing peer specialists or crisis counselors to canvas the area, notifying first responders of potentially dangerous substances, and geo-targeting social media messaging to individuals in the impacted area.
“In Kent County, we’re using the ODMap to ensure that our peer recovery specialists are connecting with individuals who need emergency support,” said Ginger Gregg, Kent County Office of Emergency Services.
At the local level, Opioid Intervention Teams (OITs), which are set up in each of Maryland’s jurisdictions and led by the local emergency manager and health officer, are reporting progress on initiatives that support the state’s fight against this crisis.
Prevention and Education
- All 24 jurisdictions report implementing information campaigns that educate individuals on how to access resources (as of the end of Quarter 1, Fiscal Year 2019)
- 16 jurisdictions report implementing locally-led programs to educate prescribers about best practices in prescribing opioids or pain medications (as of the end of Q1, FY 2019)
- 11 jurisdictions report using the Student Assistance Program in schools and 5 jurisdictions report using SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) in schools (as of the end of Q1, FY 2019)
- 10 jurisdictions report implementing programs to increase employer support for individuals seeking treatment and those in recovery (as of the end of Q1, FY 2019)
- 1,379 pounds of prescription medications have been collected by Maryland State Police (in the first quarter of FY19)
- 779.4 grams of illicit opioids have been seized and reported by heroin coordinators (in the first quarterof FY19)
- 9 jurisdictions report having a law enforcement diversion program by which officers can refer individuals to treatment or resources rather than arrest (as of the end of Q1, FY 2019)
Treatment and Recovery
- 21 jurisdictions report case management support for individuals in treatment (as of the end of Q1, FY 2019)
- All 45 emergency departments report naloxone prescribing or dispensing (as of the end of Q1, FY 2019)
- 33 emergency departments report the availability of peer recovery services (as of the end of Q1, FY 2019)
- 10 jurisdictions report universal pretrial substance abuse screening and 9 jurisdictions have selective pretrial screening in the correctional facility (as of the end of Q1, FY 2019)
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 or by calling 211 and pressing 1.