Baltimore County needs broader effort to combat opioid addiction
May 28, 2019 | 2:20 PM
Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski Jr. is right to prioritize combating the scourge of opioid addiction, and we applaud his efforts (“Olszewski announces effort to battle opioid crisis in Baltimore County,” May 16). However, the task force he has assembled is comprised entirely of hospital representatives. While hospitals play a critical role in treating those in medical crisis due to overdose, the reality is that the great majority of individuals with substance use disorders access treatment in community settings.
Community providers address not only the medical aspects of treatment – including mental health interventions that are part of evidence-based approaches – but also are experts in the co-called social determinants of health such as the lack of housing and transportation. We applaud the county executive for his initiative but urge him to include community behavioral health providers on the task force. To do otherwise is to focus on only a fraction of the solution.
Lori Doyle, Catonsville
The writer is public policy director for the Community Behavioral Health Association of Maryland.