On Feb 24th, 2015 Maryland Governor Larry Hogan implemented the state’s Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force.
This task force was designed to, as quoted from the governor’s government website, “advises and assists the governor in establishing a statewide effort to improve public awareness, access to treatment, quality of care, alternatives to incarceration for non-violent drug abusers, and law enforcement coordination.”
The total number of incidents in Maryland from Jan 2014-September 2014 (the year BEFORE this implementation) 654 deaths with 424 being from heroin and 141 from fentanyl.
The state cheered!! This group is going to put focus on the crisis, find alternatives and get to the bottom of this..bye bye heroin!!
Flash forward to 2018. For the same time period Jan 2018-Sept 2018 Maryland had 1648 opioid related deaths including 654 heroin deaths and 1449 fentanyl deaths.
So, I’ll do the math for you. Heroin deaths have increased by a little over 150% and fentanyl deaths…just over 1,000%.
And that’s just the deaths, imagine the number of overdoses.
So their job was to:
- Improve public awareness. A+ , we are ALL aware of the crisis.
- Access to treatment. A+ , safe shooting centers, free programs, myriad of options
- Alternative to incarceration- A+, it’s true heroin offenses are not punished by incarceration. Addicts are given an option to attend programs in lieu of incarceration. Except they are just doing it to stay out of jail, not because they are invested in rehabilitation, therefore the treatment fails, the offender returns to drug abuse with a lower tolerance in most cases, just to overdose after leaving treatment. This option is available to 2nd and 3rd offenders in most cases.
- Law enforcement coordination- I can’t grade this, the police arrest, get the offenders off the street and then the courts let them go, so F?
- Quality of care- F, forced care, regardless of quality, continues to prove ineffective.
Our districts in Maryland focus on drug dealers. Congratulations to the police department who arrested John Doe and his 658 grams of heroin. Timmy won’t have anyone to buy heroin from now, because drug dealers don’t work in chains of authority. Oh wait, that’s right, they do, so now John’s right hand man Josh steps up and fills the big shoes left by the big bad drug dealer, and Timmy is set.
Supply and demand, it’s the basic principals of sales. Can’t sell what the people don’t want, but why do they want opioids?
The Motley Fool has Maryland at the 6th most expensive place to live in the country. The average cost of a house here is almost 300,000 dollars, yet the average income is only 51k per year. I’ll do a little more math here for you. 51,000 dollars is 1,961 per month BEFORE the state and feds take their cut, but a loan at 300,000 dollars for 30 years is an average of 1520 per month. So after taxes, you have about…zero left over. Financial stress can cause a lot of anxiety, pressure, feelings of depression, feelings of failure, all that can be masked with drug or alcohol abuse. While we warn our youth of the dangers of drugs and experimentation, heroin statistics show heroin users tend to graduate to this level, either with experimentation with other drugs at a younger age, or by lack of prescription medication from a physician.
Some around 2016 heath officials really started to come down on physicians for prescribing opioids, because of the abuse. The problem was, there were many people who needed medication. People, either with or without, chronic pain suddenly found themselves unable to find relief. It’s not easy to switch out a strong pain medication with something less substantial. The more and more the availability became lower, the higher the numbers jumped. They were going to find a way to relieve the pain, any way they could and they did exactly that. Every addict created in a doctor’s office stayed an addict without it.
If you rob a store on heroin, it’s a heroin charge, you were under the influence, you have a disease, you need to be fixed, rehab. Don’t worry about this charge, we have faith in your recovery.
Addiction can also be an excuse for not paying child support in some counties. Oh you can’t hold a job, no worries, we will call you every month to see how you are until you are healed from your disease.
But where is the focus on the rest of us that don’t struggle with addiction? The store who lost their 500 dollars cash from the till when they got robbed. The mom who didn’t get the child support for 2 years. The dad’s whose tools got stolen, or the mom who’s son broke her heart when he spent her last 20 dollars on a dose instead of a meal.
Why can’t the teachers have more money for educational programs and mentors for our young children to help them be successful? Why isn’t the Chesapeake Bay clean yet? Why can’t the small town have money for a community center? Why don’t we have a dedicated police department to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community?
We have the money, and I don’t think it should be used so Jimmy can’t shoot up heroin safely in a supervised environment either.
Your programs… ARE NOT WORKING.
Just my two cents.