Worcester Agencies Secure Opioid Prevention, Treatment Grants

SNOW HILL – Nearly $500,000 in state grant funding is expected to assist Worcester County agencies in combatting the opioid epidemic.

On Tuesday, Gov. Larry Hogan and the Maryland Opioid Operational Command Center (OOCC) announced $10 million in block and competitive grant awards were allocated to programs around the state in an effort to address the opioid crisis.

The grant funding, which will be distributed between July 2022 and July 2023, will be used to support the administration’s priorities of prevention and education, enforcement and public safety, and treatment and recovery.

“Our administration has made it a top priority to put the resources and support systems in place at every level to expand access to treatment, and combat the heroin and opioid crisis,” Hogan said. “These grants play a critical role in supporting the local and grassroots work taking place in our communities and health care systems to save lives and promote healing.”

As part of its block grants, the state has awarded Worcester County $98,605 to support a peer recovery specialist assignment within a hospital emergency department. The county was one of 24 jurisdictions to receive funding to support overdose-related programs and initiatives.

Two Worcester County agencies were also recipients of the state’s OOCC Competitive Grant Program, which distributed $6 million to fund 38 of the highest-scoring proposals.

Worcester County Public Schools received $113,360 to support youth-based prevention programming and awareness efforts regarding issues associated with substance use, such as mental health and stigma. The Worcester County Health Department also received $74,927 to support trauma-focused programming for youth and adults.

“We are honored to support so many great projects for the year to come,” said OOCC Executive Director Robin Rickard. “Each of these programs will make an enormous impact for those living with the disease of addiction, from early prevention efforts to lifting people up on their recovery journey.”

Last month, the OOCC also announced an additional $7.5 million in grant funding to support local jurisdictions as it implements the requirements of the Opioid Use Disorder Examination and Treatment Act of 2019, legislation that requires all local detention centers to implement programs to screen incarcerated individuals for opioid use disorder and offer recovery and counseling services and FDA-approved medications.

The Worcester County Jail received $204,313 to support treatment, counseling and care coordination services.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.