It will highlight the problem, and provide information on services to get clean.
Washington DC (KM). It’s a national crisis. That’s how 6th District Congressman John Delaney (D) describes opioid abuse in the country. He says it’s a problem that affects those living in rural as well as urban and suburban areas.
Delaney is holding an Opioid Addiction Workshop on Thursday, March 2nd beginning at 6:00 PM at Northern Middle School, 701 Northern Avenue, in Hagerstown. He says the workshop will give “my constituents as much information as possible about this terrible situation so that we can begin together to make a difference against this, and stop this from growing even further,” he says.
Delaney says during the first three quarters of 2016, there were 1400 deaths in Maryland from opioid overdoses, which surpasses the 1200 deaths the entire year of 2015. He says 40% of Marylanders have been affected by this crisis, directly or indirectly.
Opioids are drugs which act on the nervous system to relieve pain. Their continued use can lead to physical dependency or withdrawal symptoms. They include the illegal drug heroin, and those available with a prescription such as Oxycondin (Oxycontin), hydrocodone, (Vicodine) , codeine, morphine, fentanyl and many others.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse says these legal drugs are safe when prescribed by a doctor and only taken for a short period of time. However, officials say, they can become addictive if taken for a long period of time, or consumed without a prescription.
Delaney says the workshop will provide information on services available to help residents get off these drugs and stay clean. “Make sure people are aware of the resources that are out there for people who do have this addiction,” he said.
There will also be a panel discussion on several topics, including the roles of the state and federal governments in dealing with this crisis. “Fortunately, last year, we passed two pieces of legislation that created more funding for prevention, and most importantly for treatment. So we’re going to talk about that,” Delaney says.
The participants in the workshop include Frederick Memorial Hospital, Waystation, Inc., Meritus Medical Center, Western Maryland Health Insurance Connector, Alleghany County Health Department, Washington County Health Department, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Martinsburg VA Medical Center, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Hagerstown Resident Office, the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and various local addiction treatment, recovery and therapy providers, and local addiction support groups.
Delaney says anyone who wants to come should register on line, or call 301-733-2900.
This will be the 26th constituent services workshop the Congressman has held since 2015.
By Kevin McManus