Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $6,000,000)
Maryland has taken numerous steps to combat the increasing number of overdoses and deaths resulting from the heroin and opioid crisis. Some of these efforts include creating workgroups, enacting legislation, and declaring a State of Emergency. Although Maryland remains committed to addressing this crisis, overdose deaths continue to significantly impact the State at an alarming rate. According to the CDC, the overdose death rate in Maryland increased from 20.9 deaths per 100,000 in 2015 to 44.6 in 2020. In addition, and based on an Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program (ODMAP), overdose deaths in Maryland increased by 8.28%, from 12,581 in 2018 to 13,623 in 2021. During the same time, heroin and non-fatal/fatal overdoses increased by 3.7%, while fentanyl overdoses increased 108%. Furthermore, there were a total of 32,405 overdoses in Maryland between January 2020 and June 2, 2022.
Although Maryland has made tremendous progress on its response to the opioid epidemic through federal COAP funding and complimentary statewide efforts, more work is needed to combat this growing challenge, especially in regions not represented as COSSAP sites. For this reason, the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services (GOCPYVS) seeks federal funding for Category 2: Statewide Application, in the amount of $6,000,000, to implement the Maryland Efforts to Expand the Fight Against Opioids (MEEFAO) project. This project will select up to eight geographically diverse localities or regions (sites) to support law enforcement and other first responder diversion programs, expand access to recovery support services, and advance racial equity. Given its role as a coordinating office, the GOCPYVS will leverage existing efforts, through Maryland’s Center of Excellence and previous COAP efforts, to innovate and elevate the State’s response to the opioid epidemic through a comprehensive approach.
The GOCPYVS will partner with the Maryland Department of Health, the Opioid Operational Command Center, the Maryland Judiciary, and more to respond to the growing challenges resulting from the opioid epidemic. The Maryland Statistical Analysis Center will also be engaged to support action-oriented research, performance management, and evaluation of all selected sites.
The evaluation of MEEFAO is expected to contribute to the national body of knowledge as it relates to best practices. The expected outcomes of MEEFAO will also decrease opioid overdose deaths, decrease recidivism rates, improve relationships between law enforcement and the community, and improve social and behavioral outcomes in the community.