ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Calvin Ball today signed an Executive Order creating an Opioid Collaborative Community Council to assist in determining priorities for how the County should use funds received through a National Settlement Agreement with opioid manufacturers and any future settlements. The Council is charged with making recommendations to the Fiscal Year 2024 budget on or before June 30, 2023, with final findings made on or before July 31, 2024. Pictures from the event can be found here.
Opioid manufacturers created a public health crisis that led to hundreds of fatal and non-fatal overdoes in Howard County. Their product was a scourge on our community. Now that we have begun to receive money as part of our settlement with some opioid manufacturers, it’s important that our community has input into how those funds can best be used to prevent future Opioid misuse.
National litigation against opioid manufactures began in December 2017 and Howard County filed its own lawsuit in May 2019. States and their subdivisions reached a settlement agreement with the defendants in February 2022. As a result of that settlement, Howard County received approximately $230,000 in December 2022, and is expected to receive $12.3 million over the next 15-to-20 years. The settlement payments will be deposited into an Opioid Abatement Fund established by the County.
The Opioid Collaborative Community Council will consist of the following 17 voting members:
- Barbara Allen, James' Place Inc. (Chair)
- Quinton Askew, 211MD
- Robin Bartko, Coach/Community Advocate
- Sarah Blankenship, Maryland Coalition of Families
- Mark Donovan, Congruent Counseling
- Joanie Elder, Donleigh House
- Beth Harbinson, Family Advocate/SOBAR
- Sean Hughes, Attorney/Community Advocate
- Mimi Matthews, Clergy
- Jack Matthews, Peer Recovery Specialist
- Sarah McCoy, Grassroots
- Debbie Nix, Parent Advocate
- Teron Powell, Silverman Treatment Solutions
- Joan Webb Scornaienchi, HC Drug Free
- Theresa Thomas, Hilda's Place
- Cindy Johnson, Community Representative
- John Way, Veteran's Advocate
The word ‘collaborative’ in the Executive Order says it all. The issues at hand related to substance use with co-occurring mental health disorders are complex. Only by coming together are solutions being developed that work for all residents in Howard County.
“I want to thank County Executive Ball for his ongoing commitment to addressing the opioid crisis in our County by facilitating the formation of partnerships like the OCCC, which brings together experts and interested community members from the public and private sectors to ensure the collaboration of all available resources in addressing this need” said Health Officer, Dr. Maura J. Rossman.
In Howard County, fatal opioid overdoses fell from a high of 47 in 2020, to 31 in 2022, a 34-percent decrease. Nonfatal overdoses fell from a high of 188 in 2018, to 111 in 2022, a 41-percent decrease.