Impact of Governor Hogan's Heroin Initiative on the Shore - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Impact of Governor Hogan's Heroin Initiative on the Shore

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Recovered heroin from a drug bust in Fruitland. (WBOC) Recovered heroin from a drug bust in Fruitland. (WBOC)

MARYLAND, - Governor Larry Horgan unveiled his new plan to battle heroin and opioid addiction in Maryland and health officials in Wicomico County believe the initiative could make a real difference.

Hogan has announced the Heroin and Opioid Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement Initiative.  Included in the initiative is $4 million in new funding that Cindy Shifler, the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Prevention Coordinator at the Wicomico County Health Department, said is crucial because it will allow health officials to collect more necessary data on the ongoing drug crisis.

"We presently only review fatal cases from overdoses.  We don't review those who overdoses but lived and some of those people have overdosed a number of times," Shifler told WBOC on Wednesday.

Shifler said the information will help agencies around the state get people the help they need and prevent overdoses in the future.  The Governor's plan also aims to get all the different agencies across the state on the same page when it comes to battling the heroin issue.

"So that we all know what everyone is doing.  One, you're going to be using your time more wisely, but you're going to be able to address the problem better as well and address it as it changes," Shifler said.

The state wants to ensure all of the information gathered from things like first responders, ER's, health departments, and local governments are available to all agencies across the state.

Better data collection, coupled with new legislation and more treatment available for addicts has local health officials believing the Governor's plan could make a real impact on the shore.

The new legislation introduced by Hogan includes Overdose Prevention Act which will expand access to naloxone, the overdose reversing drug.  The Distribution of Opioids Resulting in Death Act which will create a new felony for those who distribute an opioid that results in a death of someone who consumes it.  And the Prescriber Limits Act which limits opioid painkiller prescriptions from doctors to seven days.  Wicomico health officials believe that new law will prevent a lot of people from initially getting hooked on opioids.

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