Baltimore makes good start to fight drug overdoses but next step must be addiction treatment.
Preventing Prescription Drug & Heroin Overdoses in Maryland
Two recent articles appearing in the Baltimore Sun newspaper bring to light initiatives by the state of Maryland to fight the increasing heroin epidemic and wave of drug overdoses occurring throughout Baltimore and the state of Maryland. The first article, “Trying to Prevent Heroin Deaths One Shot at a Time”, details the struggle Baltimore and Maryland have come up against in attempting to deal with the infamous heroin epidemic plaguing the region and looks at statewide initiatives to increase the awareness and the use of the drug naloxone (brand name Narcan). Naloxone is a drug that reverses the effects of a heroin overdose.
The second article, “State hopes tracking pain pills will reduce overdoses”, discusses the state of Maryland’s prescription drug monitoring program that has the hopes of reducing overdose deaths by 20 percent by the end of 2015. This is in response to physicians overprescribing patient’s narcotics, addicts and substance abusers doctor shopping for large amounts of drugs like OxyContin and Percocet. Currently the system is adding about 150 doctors and pharmacies a week and about 4500 accounts have been created from providers able to prescribe drugs.
Our Thoughts on the Baltimore Sun Articles
Both initiatives are steps in the right direction to deal with the substance abuse and chemical dependency issues plaguing Baltimore City, Baltimore County and the surrounding areas throughout the state of Maryland. However, in order for these initiatives to truly make a difference, the next step needs to be drug treatment. Saving the life of a heroin addict that is overdosing with Narcan is important. Every addict deserves the access to this drug and get a second chance, but the question becomes what happens once that life is saved. Are they left to go use heroin again? Or do those utilizing the drug need to be educated on treatment services.
Do police officers and family members of Maryland residents being trained in naloxone administration also need to be made aware of policies and procedures that must be implemented that get a saved heroin user immediately into an addiction treatment facility in Maryland? Absolutely. Do those people monitoring the abuse of prescription drugs need to have steps to take that when someone is found to be doctor shopping, that they are immediately entered into a system that requires drug treatment in Baltimore? Of course. Otherwise people suffering from the disease of addiction are free to continue on without an intervention of substance abuse treatment.
Naloxone and prescription monitoring programs are vitally important to curbing the opiate and drug abuse throughout Maryland. However, it must be immediately followed by substance abuse treatment and other addiction services in order to truly be effective. Drug treatment in Maryland must be made available for those addicts that are fortunate to benefit from these new initiatives. Increasing access to quality addiction treatment must be the next step by authorities in Maryland in order for these good intentioned initiatives to truly bring about a positive step towards overcoming the heroin epidemic in Baltimore and the surrounding areas.
Need Help? Contact a Recovery Professional Today
If you or someone you know is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction and is in need of drug treatment, please call us for help. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive addiction treatment in the area. If you aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will work with you to find a treatment center that best fits your needs. Please feel free to call us at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on all of our drug and alcohol addiction treatment services and resources, please visit our web site at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.