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Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford announced that the OOCC is releasing $5.5 million in grants for projects across Maryland to combat the opiod crisis. Three Harford County organizations were named as grantees, receiving over $400,000 in funding.

HARFORD COUNTY — Early on Wednesday, Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford announced that the Maryland Opiod Operational Command Center (OOCC) will be distributing $5.5 million dollars to opiod and substance abuse projects throughout the state. As grantees, three Harford County institutions, Harford County Government, Addictions Connections Resource, Inc. and the UMUCH/Klein Family Harford Crisis Center, are receiving over $400,000 combined to fund their anti-opiod programs.

Speaking at the Boys & Girls Club of Westminster, Rutherford said that the grants will be going to a variety of initiatives that the OOCC has identified as being able to make the most impact on the lives of at-risk people.

“We are focused on addressing the opioid epidemic using every tool at our disposal, and that includes supporting partners who are committed to building a healthier and safer Maryland,” said Rutherford. “These programs utilize proven and promising initiatives that can create measurable and meaningful changes, and save individuals most at-risk of losing their lives to the opioid epidemic.”

The funds will be distributed as part of the OOCC’s Fiscal Year 2022 Competitive Grants Program, which is open to proposals from both state and local governments as well as private organizations. The organizations are graded on criteria including how each proposal can meet the greatest needs in Maryland and how they align with Maryland’s Inter-Agency Opiod Coordination Plan — which sets out universal guidelines and proven practices in combating opiod use.

The proposals with the highest scores — indicating that they can meet the most need and implement the most effective strategies — receive grants, which they can then begin funding their projects with.

According to their project summary, Addictions Connections Resources, based in Fallston, will use the funds to provide direct treatment and recovery services to people living with addiction, including the homeless.

The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center will provide comprehensive care to individuals suffering from addiction or behavioral health symptoms.

Harford County, which is receiving a grant of roughly $160,000, is using the funds to send out peer recovery specialists. The specialists, who have themselves gone through the process of recovering from opiods, will ride along with ambulances on calls. The specialists provide aid and counsel to individuals suffering from substance abuse and/or mental health issues, as well as help them get access to recovery and community resources.

“I would like to thank Gov. Hogan for this funding, which will continue our innovative work with community partners to combat the opioid epidemic and support mental wellness in Harford County,” said Harford County Executive Barry Glassman.

The grants come on top of a $4 million block grant to Maryland local governments in June to support their anti-opiod efforts. In total, the OOCC expects to disburse almost $10 million in funds for FY 2022 to help combat Maryland’s opiod crisis.

“We are very excited to see all the great work that our partners will do, and we will be here to support them every step of the way. We are all in the fight together, and I am confident that, together, we can turn back the tide of the opioid crisis,” said OOCC Executive Director Rickard.

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