Home National Weather Carroll County Commissioners approve funding for opioid prevention programs – Baltimore Sun

Carroll County Commissioners approve funding for opioid prevention programs – Baltimore Sun

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The Carroll County Board of Commissioners approved $309,002 in county money to continue funding for two programs that work to combat the opioid crisis locally.

Commissioners voted 4-0 Thursday to approve $135,000 for operations at the Carroll County Mobile Crisis Team’s call center, and $174,002 for the continuation of an after-school program run by the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster. Commissioner President Ed Rothstein was not at the meeting.

The vote was a result of recommendations from the county’s Senior Opioid Policy Group, which reviewed priorities for combating the opioid crisis in the county.Funds will come from the fiscal 2023 operating budget.

According to data reported July 6 by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, there have been 178 overdose cases in the county so far in 2022. Of those cases, 53 were attributed to fentanyl, 10 to other opiates, and 3 to heroin. Eleven people who overdosed on fentanyl have died so far this year, according to the sheriff’s office. Narcan, a brand name for naloxone, a prescription medicine used for the treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose emergency, was administered in 27 overdose cases in the county so far this year.

According to the Carroll County Health Department, last year there were 625 nonfatal overdoses and 60 deaths in Carroll County attributed to opioids. In 2020, there were 873 overdoses and 58 deaths, and in 2019, 1,063 overdoses were recorded, along with 55 deaths.

The Mobile Crisis Team is in its fourth year in Carroll County. Composed of therapists and people in recovery for mental health or substance use issues, the team can respond to people in crisis and help direct them to county resources, supporting efforts of law enforcement and emergency services, according to Sue Doyle, the county’s health officer.

All approved money for the team will go to fund its call operations center, which helps the health department to “mitigate” issues, Doyle said.

“It also helps us … to make sure the person is stabilized and has followed up with their appointment that was made in a community-based program … or whether they went to the hospital. And, after that trip to the hospital, we want to ensure that they follow through on their discharge planning,” Doyle said.

In fiscal 2021, the call center received 3,449 calls for help, plus 1,553 calls for follow-up. The call center also made 1,896 outgoing calls for screening and follow-up, according to county documents.

“These calls provided community members with needed contact to either determine the need for in-person mobile crisis response, or served as a crisis stabilization contact, ensuring the crisis was indeed mitigated,” county documents state.

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Commissioners also approved funding to continue after-school programs run by the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster at North Carroll, Northwest and Sykesville middle schools, with plans to expand the program to Mount Airy Middle. The club has been operating after-school programs at these schools since 2020, to teach middle school-age children how to avoid drugs, alcohol and sexual behavior.

“These programs are critically important,” said Erin Bishop, marketing director for the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster. “Middle school youth are at such an impactful age and they are facing so many challenges just in their growth and maturity, and then COVID has not really helped them.

“… These programs that we’re doing after school [are] really for us to bring them forward and help them reach these milestones that they’ve missed [due to the pandemic], and to really help them with their development,” she said.

Bishop said the programs are also important in dealing with the opioid crisis in the county.

“We are able to have open conversations with our youth about substance-use prevention, and they have been very impactful,” she said. “I think this is such beneficial funding for the county.”

Commissioner Richard Weaver, who worked as an educator in Carroll County Public Schools for 38 years, said he agreed.

“I’ve seen what happened with the one in Westminster, and I think we ought to have them in every school in the county,” said Weaver, a Republican who represents District 2. “I’ve talked to teachers, and they can tell when a child has been involved in the Boys and Girls Club.”



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Source: Baltimore Sun