The Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center, in conjunction with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, announced Thursday the recipients of $10 million in grants to combat opioid addiction and overdoses. More than $400,000 of that funding will be coming to Carroll County, funding the health department’s mobile crisis response team as well as treatment and prevention programs with other county organizations.
The Fiscal Year 2020 funding is part of $50 million Gov. Larry Hogan committed to combat opioid addiction over five years.
“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 said in a statement. “These grants are a powerful tool for our local communities in our fight against the opioid epidemic.”
Carroll will receive a total of $435,885, $137,594 of which comes as a “base grant” to the Carroll County Health Department from the Opioid Operations Command Center, according to Carroll County Health Officer Ed Singer. The Health Department can choose what to spend that grant on, he said, and they chose to spend it to further support the county’s new mobile crisis response team who can respond to people in crisis due to mental health and substance use issues.
“We have a crisis response team available to deal with people in the community from 9 in the morning till midnight,” Singer said. “The police dept raves about them, they love having them.”
Rather than arresting someone who will be released back into a bad situation, Singer said, the crisis response team can help direct them to services rather than a jail cell.
“They are calling the next day to make sure they got to whatever services they needed to,” he said.
Just less than $300,000 of the Carroll funding comes in competitive grant awards to the Westminster Rescue Mission, which will receive $97,150, Carroll County Public Schools, which will receive $56,133, the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster, which is getting $47,008.44 and Mosaic Group, which will see $98,000.
At the Rescue Mission, that funding will help the expansion of substance use disorder treatment for women scheduled for early 2020, according to Executive Director Carol Bernstein.
“The money will be used to hire Peer Recovery Specialists and a Clinical Counselor for our Women’s Program, among other things,” she wrote in an email. “This will enable us to open for women fully staffed and ready to provide treatment with a team that is trained in our Program and ready to provide the support services we offer through our 9 month, faith-based, residential Addiction Healing Center.”
At Mosaic, that funding will allow the organization to bring a support group curriculum to Carroll County for the first time. Known as “Families Strong,” the 9-week program is focused on helping family members of people with a substance use disorder to learn techniques of self care so they can better help their loved one with addiction, according to President Marla Oros.
Singer said he was proud that the county had four different competitive grants awarded in areas that fit in with the health department’s priorities.
“I worry sometimes that when you have a crisis, you how money at it and it’s not always well thought out,” he said. “I think with what we’re doing that I’m happy that this all part of a bigger plan.”