Howard Co. investing in fight against opioid, heroin addiction

County leaders set aside $250K for detox center
Posted at 11:19 PM, Jul 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-21 07:15:25-04

Opioid and heroin addiction continues to be a problem, and one county not usually associated with drugs and overdoses is stepping up to save lives.

Howard County leaders have allocated money for the first opioid detox facility of its kind in the county.
And while the problem may seem central to other counties, the drug problem is more prevalent that many think.

"Howard County is not exempt from this crisis. Most counties or communities within the United States are somehow impacted," said Howard County Health Department officer Dr. Maura Rossman.

That's why top county brass, like County Executive Allan Kittleman are working in tandem to reverse the opioid trend there.

"We have about 30-50 overdoses that are occurring monthly and during each month about on average two to three deaths," Rossman said.

And it's getting harder and harder to meet the needs of those with opioid and heroin addictions.

"Currently we have only one treatment facility for the lowest level of care and there is a growing need in Howard County for such treatment," Rossman said.

While the skyrocketing number of overdoses continues to worry county health leaders,  they're not backing down from their dedication to save lives.

Rossman continued, "The trend continues to increase so we haven't yet seemed to bend the curve so our work is not done and we continue to look for ways to get people into treatment."

Urging Kittleman to approve $250,000 towards the county's detox facility. It will handle all aspects of addiction designed for inpatient care.

"The treatment ranges from detox which is considered the highest level of treatment and intensity decreases all the way down to supportive recovery," Rossman said.

In the meantime, leaders continue to meet, and the county is determined to reverse a dangerous and growing trend.

"One overdose is too many in Howard County. Twenty to 40 way to many." Rossman said.

County health leaders hope to break ground on the facility next year. It's not clear where the center will be built.