Howard County 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 at www.howardcountymd.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=MhjXz27xSQA%3d&portalid=0.
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:
- Reduced rate of overdose death
- Reduced rate of non-fatal overdoses
- Increased rate of Howard County residents entering treatment for substance use disorder
- Reduced number of emergency department visits for opioid related incidents
- 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.
Last month, County Executive Calvin 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.