However, it is disappointing that the final version excludes the 18,600 folks in state prisons. In 2017, nearly 700 Baltimoreans died from opioid overdose — twice that from gun deaths. Incarcerated people are at much higher risk of overdose deaths and some of the least likely to access treatment. The new bill’s requirement for the state-run Baltimore pretrial detention center (BPDC) to offer treatment calls for cautious optimism. Unfortunately, the passed version of the bill allows the BPDC to merely submit a report and plan in lieu of actually offering medication treatment by 2023 as originally drafted.
Legislators and advocates must hold BPDC accountable in truly expanding access to evidence-based treatment. We must continue to end the unjust deprivation of care for incarcerated people.