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    For immediate release:
    August 31, 2020

    Media Contacts:

    Deidre McCabe, Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-3536
    Charles Gischlar, Deputy Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-6491

    Maryland observes International Overdose Awareness Day and Recovery Month 2020 with a message of commitment

    Maryland Department of Health and Opioid Operational Command Center lead campaign to build awareness for recovery resources available to Marylanders

    Annapolis, MD – Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford announced that Maryland will continue its tradition of observing International Overdose Awareness Day (IODAD) today and National Recovery Month in 2020 this September. Maryland’s theme for both IODAD and Recovery Month 2020 is “Recovery: Pass It On, Keep It Going!”


    “International Overdose Awareness Day and Recovery Month provide us with opportunities to pause and recognize that sustained recovery is a goal for many Marylanders, and helping them to achieve it is a goal that the state is here to support,” said Lieutenant Governor Rutherford, who has led the Hogan administration’s substance use- and mental health-related initiatives since taking office in 2015. “The opioid and substance use crisis is a grave matter, and the state remains steadfast in its commitment to doing everything it can to reduce this threat to Marylanders’ health, safety and happiness.”


    To mark both occasions, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) Behavioral Health Administration (BHA), Opioid Operational Command Center, and partner agencies are planning a variety of themed activities that continue throughout September. Activities begin with a virtual Recovery Month kick-off event, Join the Voices of Recovery: Celebrating Connections on August 31. The event will include a welcome from BHA leaders, an interactive workshop, a video presentation, and a talk by Nadia Richardson, Founder and Executive Director of No More Martyrs, a mental health awareness campaign committed to building a community of support for black women.

    “The Maryland Department of Health is grateful for our many dedicated partners in our mission to help Marylanders in need continue to find health and strength in recovery,” said MDH Secretary Robert R. Neall. “Through our combined resources, education and action, we remain committed to supporting those who are impacted by substance use disorders in finding treatment and sustaining recovery.”

    All of the state’s IODAD and Recovery Month programming will provide informational resources and tools that can help Marylanders enter and maintain recovery. One highlight of the month-long celebration will be “selfie” videos submitted by people in recovery and leaders in the behavioral health field. The videos will offer a forum for these Marylanders to demonstrate that recovery is not only achievable, but it is also something that the state supports.

    “Recovery is a long and difficult process,” said Executive Director Steve Schuh of the Opioid Operational Command Center. “Treatment & Recovery is one of our key policy priorities, and we strive to ensure that Maryland offers the tools that residents need to work into recovery and the support systems that they need to stay there for the long haul.”


    “Behavioral health disorders have a significant impact on individuals and families,' said Dr. Aliya Jones, Deputy Secretary for BHA. 'BHA is helping providers across Maryland ensure that patients have the treatment access and the long-term support they need. Recovery is important because it is possible and it is a key goal for our administration.'


    Marylanders can follow @BeforeIts2Late on Twitter and Facebook.com/BeforeItsTooLateMD for daily updates on IODAD and Recovery Month 2020 activities and links to resources.


    Before It’s Too Late is the state’s effort to bring awareness to the opioid crisis and to mobilize resources for effective prevention, enforcement, and treatment. Marylanders struggling with a substance use disorder can find help at BeforeItsTooLate.Maryland.gov; through our state's crisis hotline, Call 211, Press 1; or by texting their ZIP code to 898-211.


    The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement.

    The Opioid Operational Command Center’s vision is that Maryland will be a healthier place where no one else falls victim to substance use, where anyone impacted by substance use disorder can access the health services they need, and where there is no more suffering from the use of substances. Under the guidance of the Inter-Agency Heroin and Opioid Coordinating Council, the OOCC leads Maryland’s opioid-related strategic planning and coordinates the efforts of approximately 20 state agencies, our community partners, and all 24 local jurisdictions throughout the state.

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