October 28, 2020

Media Contact: 

Mark Miller, Administrator, Office of Public Information, 410-313-2022

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, County Executive Calvin Ball was joined by Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, the Howard County Opioid Crisis Community Council (OCCC) and Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) to acknowledge and celebrate the efforts of first responders in the battle against substance misuse on National First Responders Day.


"On behalf of all Howard County residents, my sincerest thanks to all our first responders for your service to our communities,” said Ball. “The challenges you have faced and adapted to this year is a testament to your professionalism and dedication to keeping Howard County safe. Our continued efforts to save lives, encourage recovery, and ensure all our residents are healthy and thriving would not be possible without our first responders.”

“In this unprecedented time of COVID-19, we’ve been calling upon our first responders more so than ever before,” said Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford during his remarks. “I’ve had a lot of focus on the opioid crisis, and the challenges that we face. Our first responders are literally the first ones on the scene when people are in crisis associated with substance use disorder. They are often the difference between life and death for these individuals.” 

Certificates of appreciation where distributed to officials for their role in supporting residents facing substance misuse and recovery. Those acknowledged include: Major Tom Ehart accepted on behalf of the Howard County Police Department, Deputy Chief Gordon Wallace on behalf of Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services, Sheriff Marcus Harris, State’s Attorney Richard Gibson, and Department of Corrections Director Jack Kavanagh.

“In gratitude we bring together today the men and women of Howard County, who work diligently and with heart to meet the varied needs of our community,” said Barbara Allen, Chair of the OCCC. “Within this current pandemic, we have the opioid epidemic, and these first responders are working against both challenges.” 

“I am a survivor of a Narcan revived overdose, administered to me in Howard County,” said Matt Stout, Howard County resident and person in recovery. “The reality of my family remaining in one piece is solely the result of steadfast first responders and protocols in place to revive the addict. I assure you my mother and father have their son today because of the work you do. We thank you.”

“It’s really important for me to acknowledge our first responders and say thank you,” said Teron Powell, Executive Director of Silverman Treatment Solutions and member of the OCCC. “We want to say thank you to those who run the departments, are out on the frontlines, and supporting and helping those in crisis.” 

“As someone who works pretty hand in hand with a lot of the agencies here, we’re acutely aware of programs they have implemented, and changes to policies and procedures to address this issue,” said Chris Collins, Recovery Support and Criminal Justice Supervisor for Howard County Health Department and Co-Chair of ROSC.

The Opioid Crisis Community Council (OCCC) was established by Executive Order in 2018 when opioid overdoses were on the rise in Howard County.  The Council, comprised of people in recovery, loved ones, and service providers, meets regularly to identify gaps and resources, coordinate services, and develop effective prevention and treatment strategies. The Council is also tasked with developing and updating an action plan to advise the County Executive on best practices and strategies to most effectively combat the opioid crisis in Howard County and assist/support community members impacted by the crisis.

The Howard County Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) is a team of service providers and community members who envision, advocate, coordinate and implement an integrated system where people with behavioral health challenges are supported in developing a personalized path to recovery to a full ad useful life.

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