Maryland could save hundreds of lives each year by moving forward with overdose prevention sites.
Thank you for covering the recently released report from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health regarding the interest of people who use drugs in Baltimore to use overdose prevention sites (“Opioid users in Baltimore and elsewhere say they would use designated sites to consume drugs,” June 5). The Sun should also have mentioned that Maryland is one of the many U.S. jurisdictions that has advocates, public health officials, and lawmakers in support of bringing these lifesaving interventions to our state.
Legislation has been introduced in the Maryland General Assembly in various forms the past few years with increasing support each year as the bill is finessed, and The Sun has endorsed the bill three times (2016, 2017 and 2019). We have lost more than 6,000 Marylanders to overdose since this bill was first introduced, and I wonder every day how many of those lives could have been saved if this bill had been passed in its first year.
We can't wait any longer for our political system to catch up to decades of public health research proving how effective these sites are at reducing death and disease, increasing options for wellness and encouraging self-determination for people who use drugs. I hope The Sun will continue to cover the emerging advocacy for the establishment of overdose prevention sites in Maryland.