Maryland Addresses the Opioid Crisis

Federal actions were undertaken that affect the State of Maryland concerning the opioid crisis. The state was awarded a $20 million two year grant from the CURES Act currently in its second year. The funds from the CURES Act are used for the Maryland Opioid Response program https://bha.health.maryland.gov/NALoxone/Pages/home.aspx.

Papers presented to the Maryland General Assembly during the 2019 Legislative Session, describe the Maryland’s General Assembly’s response on how the state should deal with the crisis.

The papers address several acts passed during the 2018 legislative session that require:

  • Providers to complete a recognized continuing education course related to prescribing or dispensing Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) as a qualification for an issuance or renewal of registration to dispense CDS
  • Patients be advised of the risks and benefits associated with opioids when prescribed an opioid
  • The Maryland Department of Health https://health.maryland.gov to identify a method to establish a tip line for individuals to report suspicious prescribing or over subscribing of medications
  • The State to expand treatment capacity in the state which will require the Secretary of Health to convene a workgroup to make findings and recommendations on the reimbursement of peer-recovery specialists
  • Insurance carriers to ensure that all enrollees have access to local health departments including behavioral health services
  • The Behavioral Health Crisis Response Grant program to be established with appropriations of $3 million, $4 million, and $5 million for grants to go to local behavioral health authorities

 

Enforcement measures require registered distributors of CDS to report any suspicious CDS order to the Maryland Department of Health and to the Office of the Attorney General. Also, enforcement measures require emergency medical services providers to report the incident of an overdose to the State’s overdose detection mapping application program.

Governor Larry Hogan’s Administration, has continued efforts to respond to the opioid epidemic through the “Opioid Operational Command Center” (OOCC). The Administration announced $66 million in federal funding for OOCC during FY 2019 and 2020 through State opioid response grants. The funding will be used to expand 24/7 crisis treatment services statewide, increase naloxone distribution to local jurisdictions, and expand medication-assisted treatments.

The OOCC local Opioid Intervention Teams (OIT) in 24 local jurisdictions will receive $4 million in total funding for FY 2019. Projects funded through the IT grants will seek to expand naloxone access, increase public awareness of the effects of opioids, support education and training, and facilitate referrals and connections to treatment and recovery support services. The OOCC also launched the public awareness campaign “Before It’s Too Late” which aims to mobilize resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Actions dealing with the crisis also pertain to the Maryland’s Medicaid program. The State is to receive federal reimbursements for the provision of residential treatment for up to two 30 day stays per year.

The State is also addressing the crisis through the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). In Maryland, prescribers must query PDMP regarding a patient’s history of prescribed CDS before prescribing a monitored drug. For each monitored prescription drug dispensed, a dispenser must electronically submit data to PDMP.

Go to https://dls.maryland.gov/pubs/prod/RecurRpt/Issue-Papers-2019-Legislative-Session.pdf for more information on the issues involving the opioid crisis in the state during the 2018 legislative session.

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