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What is Frederick Doing to Respond?

(copied from Jan Gardner's editorial in Frederick News Post 1/29)
  • Narcan: Over 1,200 law enforcement personnel, first responders, and others have been trained to use Narcan to revive people who have overdosed. To date, 600 kits have been distributed throughout the community to families, hotels, restaurants and stores, and at community events. Businesses and other organizations requesting training for naloxone have received it. The use of Narcan or naloxone has saved numerous lives.
  • Substance treatment at Adult Detention Center: Accreditation was received for a substance abuse treatment program called Project 103 at the Adult Detention Center. Vivitrol use and distribution for people released from jail has reduced recidivism for those who were in substance abuse treatment.
  • Public health/peer recovery: The Health Department Peer Recovery Partnership has put paid peer recovery specialists in the Emergency Department at Frederick Memorial Hospital to connect people who have overdosed with needed services before they are released from the hospital. Peer recover specialists have connected individuals to a variety of services with an 83 percent connection rate. Peer recovery specialists are also embedded at the Adult Detention Center, work release, drug court, Parole and Probation, the Community Action Agency, and Way Station. There is also a peer recovery partnership between the Health Department and the Frederick Police Department. Over 200 volunteer peer recovery coaches have been trained and provide support to individuals recovering from addiction.
  • Drug court: Drug court has graduated 149 people who have achieved recovery from substance abuse while addressing issues with the court system.
  • Awareness: To increase awareness of this community challenge, the county along with two nonprofit organizations installed a billboard along Md. 85 with statistics about overdoses and fatalities so people in our community can see the magnitude of the problem. There have been numerous public awareness efforts and events, including an award-winning video series called “Take Back My Life” with individuals sharing their experience with addiction. These powerful stories can still be viewed at
  • Schools and education: Age-appropriate curriculum has been added in our school system at every level — elementary, middle and high school — to teach our students about the risks, reality and consequences of alcohol and drug abuse. The Health Department is also making public service announcements during morning announcements and via Find Out First. Information is distributed to all students at freshman orientation for high school. The Health Department offers, at no cost, substance use assessments of adolescents and children in the school system.
  • Drug take-back events: Events are offered in the spring and fall and collect an average of up to 5,000 pounds of unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs per year. There are also drop-off sites in law enforcement facilities around the county.
  • Law enforcement: The Frederick County Narcotics Unit is a HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) team that consists of the sheriff’s office, Homeland Security Investigations, Frederick police, Maryland State Police, Brunswick police and the state’s attorney’s office. In 2018, the Narcotics Unit opened 22 cases, made 20 arrests, and seized 121.4 grams of heroin. These statistics do not include arrests and seizures by patrol units.
  • Detox Center:The Local Health Improvement Plan, whose goal is to address substance misuse, identified the need for a local detox center as the greatest gap in treatment. I proposed in the most recent budget and the council agreed to commit $500,000 for startup money to provide an incentive for a private or nonprofit substance abuse treatment provider to establish a detox facility in Frederick County. The county has offered space at the work release center as a potential location, as suggested by Sheriff Chuck Jenkins. Jan Gardner requested a state capital grant for renovation of the work release space to have a separate entrance and divided space for detox, and this money was included in the governor’s budget. A grant request for proposal for a detox service provider has been issued and results should be announced soon.
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