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Letter: Sen. Cardin must invest in local governments to tackle opioid epidemic

Sen. Ben Cardin recently visited Harford County’s new Crisis Center and noted he wants to make sure “local governments have the resources and discretion to do what’s right.” As luck would have it, he has an opportunity to ensure this happens! The proposed CARE Act (H.R. 2569) would authorize $100 billion over 10 years to combat the opioid epidemic and provide flexibility for local governments to decide the best ways to allocate funds. With that funding, we can decide at the local level the best ways to treat and prevent fatal overdoses.

With 113 House co-sponsors and 12 Senate co-sponsors, currently all our Democratic members of the Maryland congressional delegation are co-sponsoring the CARE Act except for him. With the senator often showing his compassion and wisdom in legislative activity, this absence seems to be an anomaly.

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As a social worker, it is my ethical mandate to help promote the general welfare of society. I believe Sen. Cardin when he conveys his care for all Marylanders. So, I’m sure he joins in my sadness of the hundreds of community members lost to preventable overdoses here in Harford County. The CARE Act could help prevent more from following by following the model set up by the Ryan White program (widely credited by experts for helping reverse the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1990s).

With funds from the CARE Act, we can invest in local communities and open up options for underserved and underinsured people, something that seems to align with the senator’s values. When Congress returns from recess next month, I urge Sen. Cardin to demonstrate this alignment by immediately signing on to this bill so the Klein Family Harford Crisis Center, and many other lifesaving programs in our community, can get the federal investment needed to address the overdose epidemic head-on.

ALLISON BERKOWITZ

Bel Air

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