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Baltimore County residents discuss the fight against opioid addiction

Posted at 11:16 PM, Sep 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-14 23:16:44-04

DUNDALK, Md. — Leaders in Maryland are working to fight against the opioid crisis in the state.

The Opioid Operational Command Center is holding a series of town hall meetings to hear directly from the community about areas that need improvement in the fight against drug addiction.

"We have heard a lot of concerns about transportation, especially in more rural areas. You know, once someone is ready to get treatment, you have a very small window of time to get them there," said Emily Keller, Special Secretary of Opioid Response for the state of Maryland.

Other key areas for improvement are services for family support, mental health services for those who suffer from addiction, and access to recovery residences.

"When people are trying to gain that stability in their life when they have maybe come from a program they've come from detox, they need to be in that sober environment where they are all supporting one another under one roof," Toni Torsch said.

The Opioid Operational Command Center has additional meetings scheduled—a total of 24—to ensure they are hearing from all jurisdictions in Maryland.

"It's been really good; we have heard really good feedback, and we know what works in some parts of Maryland may not work in others, and some things will, so we just want to hear what's working and what's not and what we can do better," Keller said.

Torsch, who is the director of the Daniel Carl Torsch Foundation, says she is proud of the command center's efforts to give the communities a voice.

"They take our messages back to the people who can actually make those changes happen, to our governor, to our legislators, you know, to our funding sources, and that's so important for a small CBO such as ours we depend on those dollars that are going to come our way hopefully," she said.

Once the town hall sessions are complete, the command center will take its findings to the state level in hopes of getting more state funding for future drug assistance programs catered to the needs of each jurisdiction in Maryland.