CALL TO ACTION: WEDNESDAY 2/26/2020
OPIOID OUTREACH PROGRAM PROHIBITION BILL HB1516 NEEDS OUR SUPPORT AND TESTIMONY!
HEARING: FRIDAY 2/28/2020 at 1:00 p.m.
Maryland Residents: We need attendees at the upcoming hearing this Friday 2/28/2020 at 1:00 p.m. before the Health and Government Operations Committee
HB1516 concerns a program called the Opioid-Associated Disease Prevention and Outreach Program. The program, which is authorized by section 24 of the Maryland health code, allows county health department officials to distribute free syringes, cookers, tourniquets, and other drug paraphernalia to drug users. The idea is that if they are going to use intravenous drugs, they might as well be doing it with a clean needle.
Delegate Parrott, the sponsor of HB1516, believes the program is counter-productive since most drug-related deaths are from overdoses, and this program encourages and enables dangerous drugs use. It also proliferates the number needles in our communities which presents a health and safety hazard to children when needles are not properly discarded. (See the account of a toddler who was stuck by a discarded needle here.)
The program also circumvents parental rights by allowing the distribution of drug paraphernalia to minors without parental knowledge or consent. (Read about how Delegate Parrott’s Aide observed how minors could potentially obtain drug paraphernalia here.)
Three counties have acted on the enabling legislation and established the program. They are Washington County, Frederick County, and Baltimore city. If HB 1516 is enacted, the bill would prohibit the program in Washington County. The bill may be amended to require treatment options be provided to individuals receiving the free needles. (This is not currently required)
This bill is specific to Parrott’s constituency in Washington County, but if passed, paves the way for other counties across the state to set their own policies with regard to drug treatment programs and containment of drug use.
Watch Delegate Parrott discuss the merits of HB1516 here.
Talking points to include in your testimony:
- Parents should be able to prevent their children from obtaining drug paraphernalia without interference from the government. This bill protects parental rights.
- The vast majority of drug-related deaths are from overdoses. There is no compelling evidence that the opioid outreach program saves more lives than it compromises, when the program potentially facilitates or encourages minors to become drug users. This bill allows counties to set drug prevention and treatment programs appropriate to their citizens’ needs.
- This bill protects citizens and especially vulnerable children from injury and exposure to communicable diseases from improperly discarded needles.
Please spread the word! Members of the HGO Committee need to hear our voices!
If you cannot attend the hearing, please submit written testimony!
Please email your written testimony directly to firstname.lastname@example.org by 9:00 a.m. on Friday, 2/28/2020
Contact Nick Allman at 858-449-9430 for more information.
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