St. Mary’s County — In 2018, there were 31 deaths related to opioid intoxication in St. Mary’s County plus 263 EMS responses to opioid incidents and 328 opioid-related visits to emergency departments. A full 79% of those deaths involved Fentynal.

The county is fighting back with an opioid response plan. The plan is a collaboration between the Health Department, law enforcement, and treatment providers. The four-point goals of the plan are prevention, improvement, expansion, and enhancement.

At the top of the list is preventing new cases of misuse by reducing unnecessary prescriptions, educating the public about addiction risks, and supporting vulnerable populations to reduce addiction.

The plan also aims improve identification of addiction problems and to intervene early by reducing the stigma around addiction and increasing knowledge about the disease. Plus connect more people with treatment and recovery services.

Expanding access to treatment services is another priority and offering those services as an alternative to jail time. There were also be a push increase access to naloxone to prevent overdose deaths.

The county also hopes that enhancing data collection will allow them to learn more about the latest treatments and make it easier to coordinate responses.

You can read the entire plan at the St. Mary’s County Health Department website: