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County Executive Ball Announces $1 Million Grant to Expand Opioid Crisis Services

County Executive Ball Announces $1 Million Grant to Expand Opioid Crisis Services

February 5, 2019

Media Contact:
Scott L. Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

COLUMBIA – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today announced that the Howard County Health Department has received a State Opioid Response Grant in the amount of $1,094,655 from the Maryland Department of Health to establish 24-hour crisis services at the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center for substance abuse, with an emphasis on opioids. Grassroots is currently Howard County’s 24-hour provider for mental health services and is now being equipped to expand its services to substance abuse. Video of today’s event is available at https://youtu.be/DO930_bJ-XM and photos are available at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmy3wjfa.

“I want to thank our Congressional Delegation, Governor, Lt. Governor, and Executive Director of Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center for this grant opportunity,” said Ball. “This issue was at the top of my agenda when I met with the Governor last month and I am pleased that he is supporting my sense of urgency about combatting opioid addiction and supporting our neighbors who are suffering. I want to congratulate the Howard County Health Department for their hard work to receive this award, as well as the Grassroots Crisis Intervention team for their unwavering dedication and compassion to help the residents of Howard County. Howard County is known as a place of wealth, opportunity, incredible schools and safe streets, but we are not immune from the tragedy that the opioid crisis has inflicted upon this nation. I am committed to making sure all Howard County families understand how to prevent overdoses, respond to overdoses, and, most importantly, receive the help needed to recover from addiction.”

In 2018, there were 187 non-fatal overdoses and 41 deaths, 31 of these deaths were opioid related in Howard County. Additionally, there are Howard County residents who lost friends or family members to opioid addiction in other localities. This grant and investment from the State will help improve outreach efforts and will continue to build on the successes that the Health, Police, and Fire departments have achieved recently. 

Through the county’s partner, Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, current services will be expanded to include 24-hour short term monitoring, crisis stabilization, Care Coordination, Medication-Assisted Treatment (bupe induction, detox), transportation, and referral assistance. 

This grant will also provide:

  • A larger physical space which will allow for a 2-4 day stay to bridge the gap between request for services and a longer-term solution.
  • Screening, client monitoring and crisis stabilization services for individuals experiencing a substance use-related crisis. 
  • Specialized medical staff available 24 hours per day to provide stabilization services and ensure proper care and services are available to those in need, day and night.
  • An available medical team to assess and monitor clients’ progress throughout their time at Grassroots. 
  • A care coordinator and peer recovery specialist to ensure they are warmly connected to long-term or outpatient treatment as needed.

Ball was joined for the announcement by Howard County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Police Department Chief Lisa Myers, Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services Chief Christine Uhlhorn, and Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center Executive Director Ayesha Holmes.  

“We are pleased to bring this grant award home to Howard County to more effectively address the needs of our residents experiencing substance use disorder,” said Rossman. “When residents are referred for residential treatment and/or detoxification wait periods may be encountered for several days before admission. This time between referral and admission can result in a return to use, overdose, or the individual may need to seek services at an emergency department. Howard County had no way to address the gap in the continuum of treatment services. This grant funding will allow Howard County to expand the existing Grassroots partnership to include on-site crisis stabilization services.”

“We started as a small one-person program and that person is overwhelmed,” said Holmes. “We are incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to expand this program and serve the residents of Howard County in a way that is decent, humane, and will help them find the treatment and better life that they are seeking.”

“We are deeply committed to helping find solutions to this epidemic,” said Chief Uhlhorn. “Having access to 24/7 crisis services will allow for our EMS providers to comprehensively serve the public though an enhanced linkage to substance abuse recovery resources. This enhanced availability will give our first responders on the front lines access to potential life-saving resources. If more people suffering from addition are linked to resources sooner, we can help prevent overdose emergencies from occurring.”

“Too often, we are seeing the same people in these overdose calls but this expansion of Grassroots’ resources can help us change that,” said Chief Myers. “By providing on-site stabilization, treatment planning, medication, referral services and follow-up plans, Grassroots will help us provide another option to stop the cycle of addiction and overdoses our officers witness first-hand far too often. The goal of these intervention efforts is to keep people from re-using drugs, which not only benefits the person in recovery, but benefits our community as well. As the new Chief of Police, I am committed to working with all of these partners to make this a top priority.”

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