To the report that the number of homeless people, and especially the number of unsheltered homeless people, continues to drop in Cecil County, according to the latest annual Point-in-Time survey. A total of 126 homeless people, a slight decrease from 129 in 2018, were identified in the 2019 survey, which was conducted in January. Homeless is designated as any individual or family who is in an emergency shelter, transitional housing or living in a place not intended for habitation. That does not include people “couch surfing,” or living with friends and family on a transitional basis. Of the 126 people who are homeless, 104 are sheltered and 22 are unsheltered. For the second straight year, the unsheltered homeless count fell about 50% from the previous year, as 41 unsheltered people were counted in 2018 and 81 in 2017. Sheltered homeless rose almost the same number that the unsheltered homeless dropped this year, suggesting that many have found refuge. Certainly those in need in our county continue to face obstacles on their path to health and security, but putting a roof over their heads and getting them closer to resources is a step worth celebrating. We hope that this trend continues in 2019 as those struggling find help and break the cycle of homelessness.
To all of our Class of 2019 graduates, many of whom completed high-level research, earned a trade license or certificate, won state athletic championships, completed hundreds of hours of community service or worked to help fight the drug abuse crisis. Many more contributed to their families well-being by working a job or caring for a family member. To anyone who says our next generation is lazy, entitled or self-absorbed, you simply aren’t spending enough time with our next generation. These are smart, energetic and hopeful young people who we believe will have a big positive impact on our futures. Congratulations to all of our graduates and good luck on your next steps.
To the results of a recent study that found that addicts face many roadblocks on a path to recovery, including many out of their control. Posing as heroin users seeking help, researchers contacted hundreds of treatment clinics in U.S. states with the highest overdose death rates. The “secret shoppers” were denied appointments much of the time, especially if they said they were insured through Medicaid, according to the Associate Press. Nearly 4 in 10 non-elderly adults with opioid addiction are covered by Medicaid, the federal and state insurance program for low-income patients. The study, which was published this week in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, found that patients with cash often got preference. The researchers tried reaching 546 prescribers with working numbers listed on a government website, which also reportedly included hundreds of outdated contacts. The study produced some shocking results when considering that tens of thousands of Americans died last year from drug overdoses. We need to do better and help cut the red tape between patients and providers if we’re serious in making a dent in this crisis.