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State of Maryland v. Heroin

Heroin Epidemic, Overdose, Prevention, Substance Abuse

Sometimes we have to face reality, perform zero-based reviews, and boldly challenge the status quo with honest scrutiny and a willingness to try different things. Such is the case with Maryland’s runaway heroin issue.

The number of people who have died from heroin overdose has gone up a staggering 95 percent from 2010 to 2013. It’s no longer just another problem; it’s a problem that begets problems, as it underlies nearly every major issue of disarray in the state from crime to mental illness to poverty.

So this past week, the Hogan Administration commissioned the Heroin And Opiod Task Force Regional Summit. I was asked to participate on the panel and it seems that solutions-assessment is on track to render actions toward a shift in the stats.

We could point fingers and bemoan old ideas and policies. But I’d rather do the needed analysis, consider solutions that work, and co-labor with officials to provide actionable measures.

Since it’s become pretty clear that “we can’t incarcerate our way out of this problem” as Gov. Hogan has said, we need to focus on ideas that work. I know of one thing that has been proven to work, and it isn’t necessarily a new thing. It’s just a thing that requires more support, attention, emphasis: Treatment that leads addicts into a continuum of lifelong recovery works.

And while this seems like just the opinion of a treatment provider, it’s important to know that I’m not alone. 24 million Americans identify themselves as living in recovery and are enjoying all the benefits of a transformed life. I believe that treatment and recovery is the most effective solution the world knows of to-date. And until something emerges that’s better, treatment and recovery is what we know works best. If and when any other solution comes along that’s better, we will gladly embrace and promote it. But for now, a lifestyle if recovery is the answer.

Prevention is another answer. That’s why in addition to Right-Turn IMPACT, we’ve established The Impact Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education, resources, tools and motivation to help prevent people from making destructive decisions. One of the ways we’re getting this message of prevention out is by establishing a Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapter in every high school in Maryland. And we are well on our way. Find out more at

Thanks again for co-laboring with us as we do all we can to fight the destruction that addiction brings to individuals, families, society, and public safety

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