ELKTON — The law and order quotient of Cecil County, including County Executive Alan J. McCarthy, met with Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing opioid litigation and other potential collaborations for the public health issue of substance use disorder.
Present at the meeting were Frosh, McCarthy, County Attorney Jason L. Allison, Interim State’s Attorney James Dellmyer and Sheriff Scott Adams. The coalition met in Baltimore.
County officials said that the discussion centered around the settlement of the opioid litigation currently pending in federal court, as well as increased state funding for drug and e-cigarette use prevention, inpatient treatment for substance use disorder, law enforcement and prosecution efforts at the Maryland state crime lab.
Also discussed were alternatives to incarceration, including treatment for substance use disorder for opioids and methamphetamines addiction as an alternative to incarceration, increased sentences for methamphetamine distribution and state legislation prohibiting the sale of flavored e-cigarettes.
Although county officials maintain that incarceration is a “critically important aspect of deterrence and rehabilitation,” they said in a statement that prosecution and jailing “does not fully address many of the underlying issues that lead to drug abuse.”
McCarthy said he “firmly believe[s] that the criminal justice system and local government can break this malevolent cycle if adequate resources are committed to education, treatment and reintegration, as well as a complement and, in appropriate circumstances, as an alternative to, incarceration.”
The coalition said that Cecil County officials are “fully committed” to combating unlawful drug use and sales in the area, and that they will “push as hard as possible to break the cycle of addiction” and to appropriately address the drug epidemic that is overwhelming local communities. A statement by the county also said that they looked forward to future meetings with Frosh.
“Our proposed initiatives will offer addicts who are arrested for drug use or possession a choice: Go to rehabilitation and engage in training and transition programs, or go to state prison to serve and be incarcerated,” said McCarthy.
“In either case, addicts will, voluntarily or involuntarily, be provided with educational and vocational training, rehabilitation, and transition services that will foster successful reintegration into the community.”