Opioid use has affected suburban and rural Maryland families, per capita, more so than metropolitan areas. Most Frederick County residents now know of someone in their extended network of family and friends that have been affected, or even killed, by these drugs. With the very first exposure, pleasure centers of the brain are stimulated and altered in such a way that addiction is a highly possible outcome.
Synthetic opiates, some meant for tranquilization of large animals, are an even more deadly threat in terms of potency.
As a Frederick Countian, I know these things by reading and watching the news; by talking to and interacting with people in the community.
As a police officer, I know these things because I have personally witnessed the horrible, dehumanizing effects of these substances.
Governor Hogan’s declaration of a State of Emergency regarding opiates is a good step in addressing treatment. More efficient allocation of funds and resources for recovery, better communication, less red tape: all are key factors to successful and timely treatment.
Due to the fact that addiction can occur so quickly after initial use, I believe expansion of prevention efforts need to be explored. Law enforcement, medical personnel and recovery professionals could be more actively partnered with schools, civic groups and faith-based groups in order to educate and try to keep our youth from trying these substances.