Paul Milton, Special Assistant to the County Executive, 410-313-4439
ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman today signed an executive order creating the Howard County Opioid Crisis Community Council to assist him in reviewing efforts and identifying new opportunities to address opioid misuse.
Kittleman said the creation of this council will provide community stakeholders a voice in finding a solution to the opioid crisis. The Council will, among its duties, identify gaps and resources, assess communication efforts, and recommend effective prevention and treatment strategies in a comprehensive manner.
“The opioid crisis hits our community in so many ways,” said Kittleman. “It’s a health crisis, a public safety crisis and it’s touching so many lives here in Howard County and beyond. This Council will look at the way we’re combating opioids now and suggest ways we can find solutions and supports by working together.”
The Council will be chaired by Barbara Allen, a long-time advocate in the fight against addiction and substance misuse. Barbara lost her son James, her brother and her niece to the disease of addiction. In their memory, she and her husband Tom founded James’ Place, an organization that helps those battling addiction.
“This council’s job is to keep hope rising in this county,” said Allen. “We have wonderful members of the community on this council and they all have ‘lived experience’ in some form and we are integrating these experiences to help this county. And that excites me.”
Members of the Council include: Flora Betro; Drema Bonavitacola; Mark Donovan; Joanie Elder; Sean Ford; Beth Harbison; Roger Hoff; Sean Hughes; Debbie Slack Katz; Kathy Kirchner; James LeMon of Howard County Public School System; Pam Long; Jason Manning; Jack Matthews; Mimi Matthews, Chris McCabe; Debbie Nix; Ana Park; Teron Powell; Laura Torres of Howard County General Hospital; Joan Webb Scornaienchi of HC Drug Free; and Joanne Wuwer-Saukas.
The following County employees will serve as advisors to the Council:
Maria Bernadzikowski, Office of Emergency Management
James Brothers, Battalion Chief, Department of Fire and Rescue Services
Theresa Collins, Opioid Coordinator, Police Department
Marianne Gibson, Opioid Project Administrator, Howard County Health Department
Caryn Lasser, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the County Executive
Matt Levy, Medical Director, Department of Fire and Rescue Services
Deidre McCabe, Director, Strategic Planning Communications, Office of the County Executive
Kim Oldham, Deputy State’s Attorney
Roe Rodgers-Bonaccorsy, Bureau Director, Behavioral Health, Howard County Health Department
Dwayne Sumpter, Department of Corrections
Rich Philps, Office of Emergency Management
Quinton Askew, Department of Community Resources and Services
Chris Adams, Deputy, Sheriff’s Office
Under Kittleman, Howard County has taken several steps to address the opioid crisis. Most recently, the County added walk-in screening and referral services seven-days-a-week for substance misuse at the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center. The County also launched HoCoOpioidHelp.com, a website that includes information about prevention, treatment and recovery from all agencies in Howard County and across the state.
In addition, the County has also hired a heroin coordinator for the police department and an opioid project administrator at the health department. Last December, the County partnered with the Aetna Foundation to have naloxone – the lifesaving drug that’s given during an overdose – available in all county buildings.
The Opioid Crisis Community Council will hold its first meeting on Wednesday, April 4 at 5:15 p.m. in the Columbia/Ellicott Room at the George Howard Building, 3430 Court House Drive in Ellicott City. An agenda will be posted on the Howard County Government meeting page here.