BALTIMORE (WJZ)—County executives hosted a tri-county Opioid Addiction Summit on Tuesday, featuring panels discussing public health partnerships, drug court programs, the neurobiology of addiction, and law enforcement collaboration.
If you think it's a city problem, think again.
County executives from Howard, Harford and Anne Arundel Counties outlined their jurisdiction's efforts to address the growing opioid crisis.
In fact, statewide, 920 people have overdosed so far this year. Compare that with 601 for the same last year.
"So we have these problems like everyone else has and it's crazy for us to pretend we don't have them and so we need to start talking about them," said Allan Kittleman, Howard County Executive.
Kittleman pitched the idea to fill the room with health professionals, addiction experts and law enforcement to try to figure out what to do.
"Heroin doesn't know any zip code, any demographic, it's an equal opportunity destroyer," said Barry Glassman, Harford County Executive.
In Anne Arundel County dealers are being targeted.
"We're not interested in jailing people suffering from addiction, we want to get them into treatment and that's the second leg of our efforts, we're expanding treatment options all over the county to get people the help they need," said Steve Schuh, Anne Arundel County Executive.
Sportscaster Keith Mills beat his addiction to pain pills.
"I was a functioning drug addict so to speak, and fortunately I did finally put my pride aside and say, 'hey, wake up and go get some help'... and I got some."
Testimony like his are helping these professionals to try to put the pills and the powder back in the bottle.
Now all of the counties are talking about putting more money into education, more money into treatment.
Heroin prevention briefings will be held at three Harford county high schools this month starting tomorrow night in Edgewood at 6:30 p.m.
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