Maryland’s Emergency Medical Services are committed to combat the opioid epidemic and are volunteering to bring an educational program – which is open to the public -- to Charlestown on Tuesday, January 9th. The Pollination Group is coordinating with the Rotary Club of Catonsville to provide renowned speakers from the State of Maryland to give insight into the current status of the problem and discuss plans for future initiatives.
The program, which will be held from 7-8:30 p.m. in the auditorium, will feature the following speakers: Clay Stamp, Executive Director of the state’s Opioid Operational Command Center; Dr. Richard Alcorta, Acting Executive Director of MIEMSS; Dr. Eric Weintraub, University of Maryland Drug Treatment; Barbara Allen, Executive Director of James’s Place Inc.; and Michael Fischer, Director of General Services for Charlestown.
Opioids are a class of medication that reduces pain by acting on receptors in the brain and spinal cord. “Opioids have long-held a legitimate medical purpose in the treatment of severe and acute pain,” said Pat Kasuda, a Rotarian. “Unfortunately, when they are used over a prolonged period of time, they can become addictive.”
With increased efforts to limit prescribing opioids, there has been a significant rise in the number of individuals seeking elicit means. State health authorities have implemented treatment protocols for addressing opioid over doses. Naloxone is widely available throughout Maryland to treat overdose patients. Local health departments have been training lay persons in the use of naloxone for over a year.
This crisis is particularly challenging because of the stigma that surrounds those with substance use disorders, a propensity to ignore the crisis in thinking it may just disappear. Therefore, a four-pronged approach has been established:
- Elevating the conversation in our communities.
- Targeting or focusing our energy around a balanced strategy.
- Using data to drive program decisions and using performance indicators to measure the efficacy of projects.
- Persevering and recognizing it has taken a number of years to reach this point and it may take time to see sustainable results.
Medication safety is everyone’s responsibility. Some tips for home safety include:
- Store all medications (prescription and over the counter) up and away from children.
- Keep medications in original containers.
- Instead of keeping medications within reach and handy, use safe reminder tools to help you remember when to take doses and to make sue the right amount of medicine is taken.
- If you are administering medication to someone else, use a medication schedule to make sure you give the right amount of medicine at the right time.
- Properly discard unused and outdated medications.
For more information about the January 9th educational program at Charlestown call: 410-242-2257. This program is supported by Charlestown Administration and the Residents’ Council. Charlestown is located at 719 Maiden Choice Lane.