SEABROOK – As the state of Maryland prepares to release $10 million in grants to all its counties to fight the heroin and opioid epidemic, one local facility will be receiving federal funding to support its fight against the crisis.
The Greater Baden Medical Services in Brandywine was one of three medical facilities selected to receive funding awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as part of the Integrated Behavioral Health Services program.
A total of $481,000 of federal funding will split between Montgomery and Prince George’s County. The county facility will receive $147,000 designated to increase access to high-quality mental health and substance abuse services which includes opioid addition.
“Despite some progress and a lot of hard work, the opioid epidemic continues to devastate communities in Maryland and nationwide,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.). “What gives me hope is the innovative strategies I’ve witnessed around Maryland to serve individuals with the combination of services they need to ultimately overcome addiction.”
Greater Baden Medical Services has transformed into a full-access facility with more than 150 staff members that help with primary medical care, dental care, behavioral health, eye care, pharmacy services and social services. Because of its location, Great Baden services Prince George’s County residents as well as those from Charles and St. Mary’s Counties.
Their physicians try to navigate the opioid crisis with a holistic approach and work with a patient’s primary care doctor to come up with the best solutions to end any addictive behaviors. Services include counseling, case management, medication management, psychiatric evaluation and substance abuse assessment, education and treatments.
One of the unique programs Greater Baden offers is a “telehealth” service that allows patients to call or Facetime a health care physician if they are dealing with mental, behavioral and substance abuse issues.
“These services will be provided through an integrated care model in our community based health centers and through technology enabled Telehealth services,” Chief Executive Officer Sonja Bachus said. “We are excited to be on the front-line of combating the opioid crisis in our community and improving the overall health of the communities we serve.”
The funding comes as the Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC), together with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, announced on Aug. 29 that nearly $10 million in grants will be given throughout the state to fight the heroin and opioid epidemic during the 2020 fiscal year.
Of the funds available, $4 million will be issued as block grants to local “Opioid Intervention Teams” to determine how to fight the epidemic. Prince George’s County will receive $191,190 of the block grant funds to support public awareness campaigns and outreach efforts to overdose survivors and their families.
The remaining $5.6 million will be given in competitive grants to those who find solutions to end the crisis through prevention and education; enforcement and public safety; and treatment and recovery programs. The funding is part of a $50 million, five-year commitment, established in 2017 by the governor’s office, to fight the epidemic.
“Our administration continues to be committed to using every resource possible to ensure our local jurisdictions have access to life-saving resources such as programs aimed towards prevention, treatment and recovery,” Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said. “These grants are a powerful tool for our local communities in our fight against the opioid epidemic.”
According to the National Institutive on Drug Abuse, there were 1,985 overdose deaths that involved opioids in Maryland in 2017. The number of deaths was at a rate of 32.2 deaths per 100,000 persons, ranking the state in the top five for opioid-related overdose death rates.
Nationwide, preliminary numbers released by the CDC report on July 17 show a decline of overdose deaths by 5.1% between 2017 and 2018. While the study is not completed, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar called the trend “an encouraging sign.”
“We also face other emerging threats, like concerning trends in cocaine and methamphetamine overdoses,” Azar said. “President Trump and HHS will continue to provide the resources and support communities, families and individuals in our collective efforts to prevent and treat addiction.”