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Executive Kittleman announces grant for Corrections to expand fight against opioid epidemic

July 25, 2017

Media Contacts: 
Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022
Jack Kavanagh, Director, Department of Corrections, 410-313-5200

ELLICOTT CITY, MD - Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman today announced the county Department of Corrections is being given a Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) grant for nearly $86,000 from Behavioral Health System Baltimore to provide early intervention and treatment services to inmates with sentences less than six months or that are being temporarily held awaiting trial.  This is the latest tool in the fight against opioid addiction and is being deployed for the first time in a detention center setting.

“The pervasive opioid problem in our community requires that we have a variety of options available to us to break the cycle of addiction,” said Kittleman. “If we can offer treatment options even among lower-level offenders, we might be able to prevent them from coming back through the system for a longer stay.  The Department of Corrections sees many inmates that can benefit from these early support services.”

The SBIRT program has traditionally proven effective in hospital and other medical settings.  For the first time in a detention center, the grant, awarded for one year, will allow for trained staff to screen inmates, provide advice to at-risk individuals and offer referrals to treatment.  Corrections will partner with existing Howard County Health Department staff providing mental health and addiction services at the detention center.  

“We may be able to prevent emergency responses, reduce medical expenses and even save lives if we can help divert these individuals from a path of addiction and crime,” said Jack Kavanagh, Director of Corrections. “This problem must be fought on multiple fronts and we are adding jail as one more place where we can make a difference.  With treatment options, maybe the time incarcerated can be productive.”

Behavioral Health System Baltimore (BHSB) is a nonprofit organization that provides leadership in advancing behavioral health and wellness. BHSB advocates for and helps guide innovative approaches to prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery to help build healthier individuals, stronger families and safer communities through an efficient and responsive system that comprehensively addresses mental health and substance use disorders. BHSB supports SBIRT as a comprehensive public health approach for delivering early intervention and treatment services to individuals with, or at risk of developing substance use disorders.

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