Baltimore, MD (July 31, 2015) – A federal grant of $815,745 per year for three years awarded to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) will be used to expand enrollment in substance abuse treatment in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County.
Reversing the scourge of opioid addiction gripping the Maryland region is a top priority of the Hogan administration. Earlier this year, Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford announced the establishment of both the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force and a separate Inter-Agency Coordinating Council. Both groups have worked to address Maryland’s growing heroin and opioid crisis.
“Directing these funds will serve as a continuation of this administration’s efforts to fight substance use disorders and overdoses in Maryland,” said DHMH Secretary Van T. Mitchell. “This funding will be used to direct outreach to these populations, to recruit them into medication-assisted (MAT) treatment at their greatest time of need.”
The SAMHSA MAT-PODA grant will target communities in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County that have high rates of opioid-related emergency room visits – significantly higher than the Maryland average. Grant funding will be used to increase enrollment in MAT by 271 individuals per year (813 over three years) in the two communities by reaching out to overdose survivors in emergency rooms, by increasing use of Interim Methadone Maintenance and by increasing use of medications while in residential treatment facilities. The DHMH’s Behavioral Health Administration also will enhance current MAT through use of innovative peer and social supports.
When an opioid overdose patient is admitted to the emergency room, an “outreach peer” – someone who has both life experience with opioid addiction and treatment and specialized training – will meet with the patient in the hospital and encourage him or her to enter MAT. By providing support from peers who have successfully utilized the same treatments and available services, it is expected that more people in need will enter into treatment, resulting in decreased illicit drug use and overdose deaths.
Interim Methadone Maintenance (IM) services also will be used as a strategy to increase access to MAT in these survivors and to bridge any gaps between the overdose experience and entry into a standard MAT program. DHMH will expand access to MAT by increasing the number of individuals in residential treatment services receiving buprenorphine or buprenorphine/naloxone induction treatment. By providing more induction opportunities in these facilities, more residents will be eligible and motivated to enter MAT programs in the community upon discharge from the hospital.
Along with expanding outreach efforts and increasing induction opportunities, BHA will enhance existing MAT services. Participating individuals will receive new services provided by peers specially trained by, and part of, the Medication Assisted Recovery Services (MARS) project, which has demonstrated effectiveness in the MAT population.
The MARS project offers psycho-education, social activities, skill building, and other supports. All project participants entering MAT programs will be provided care coordination to connect them to available “wrap-around” support services – such as housing, transportation and employment assistance. This combination of peer involvement, care coordination and support services is expected to increase retention in effective MAT programs and to increase adherence in BHA’s two chosen high-risk communities – where, in some cases, more than 60 percent of people leaving MAT programs have done so against medical advice.
The grant of $815,745 was awarded to DHMH by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with the Care Coordination, Treatment Expansion, and Peer Enhancement Project. For more information on the approaches the State has undertaken to fight substance abuse and overdose in Maryland, visit the DHMH webpage on Overdose Prevention
The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is the state government agency that protects Maryland’s public health and also works to help Marylanders make better health decisions for better health outcomes. Stay connected: www.twitter.com/MarylandDHMH andwww.facebook.com/MarylandDHMH.