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Howard County announces $1.5 million in funding for substance-use disorder residential treatment centers

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced Tuesday that $1.5 million in grant funding would be divided between three county residential treatment centers for those facing substance-use disorders: Howard House in Ellicott City, Hilda’s Place in Glenwood and the recently opened Sheppard Pratt in Elkridge.

“Residential treatment options for people with substance-use disorders, including opioid addiction, have been and continue to be extremely limited in Howard County, and yet we have hundreds of people struggling with addiction,” Ball said at a news conference at Sheppard Pratt. “Today, we are taking an important, giant leap to ensure safe, accessible and successful residential treatment right here in Howard County.”

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For three years, Ball said, the grants will fund: a transportation system for clients who need rides from residential, outpatient or other medical appointments; case managers and peer support specialists for each provider who will personally guide individuals through the different phases of treatment and help navigate clients to available needed community services; and regular training for all peers, case managers and behavioral health staff.

The county will collect data and track performance measurements on the investments to “remain data-informed and people-driven,” Ball said.

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Howard House, a 16-bed men’s home, and Hilda’s Place, a 16-bed women’s home, both opened in 2019 and received licenses for all levels of clinically managed care earlier this year, Ball said. The Elkridge branch of Sheppard Pratt opened in June and offers 17 licensed beds for people needing detox or withdrawal management.

Dr. Harsh Trivedi, CEO of Sheppard Pratt, thanked the county for its support and stressed that everyone “needs to step up and do more.”

The state of Maryland experienced a 15% increase in drug- and alcohol-related deaths last year, and “Howard County is no exception,” Trivedi said.

“Howard County’s tragic 53% surge in opioid-related fatalities just last year marks the largest percentage increase in Central Maryland,” he said. “We need to ensure services are immediately available when someone is ready to take that first step.”

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The grant “confirms the good work we are doing and will continue to do,” said Theresa Thomas, founder and CEO of Hilda’s Place.

“This money goes to show that the county is prepared to embark on this journey with the partners who are gathered here,” said Bernard Foster, executive director of Howard House.

Barbara Allen, chair of the Howard County Opioid Crisis Community Council, said substance-use disorder is “a disease” and a “complex issue” which the “majority of our population doesn’t understand.”

“We are not going to get our way through this without collaboration,” Allen said. “We need the input of ‘what about this’ or ‘what about that.’ ”

Howard House, Hilda’s Place and Sheppard Pratt, Allen said, offer “systems of hope and healing” and that is what people want and need.

“This is a step forward that we’ve wanted for a very, very long time,” Allen said.

“This is a significant accomplishment for Howard County, one that has been years in the making,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County health officer. “With a goal to prevent deaths and other adverse events related to substance misuse, the health department is looking forward to offering all levels of care to residents of Howard County.”

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