As of May 2017, Anne Arundel County has seen an increase in reported opioid overdoses, with 400 so far as of May 2017. In response, County Executive Steve Schuh, along with other county officials, initiated “Safe Stations,” local fire departments and police stations that are available for people with substance use disorder who want help. These resource centers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with staff trained to evaluate individuals’ needs.
Anyone who walks into a fire or police station will first be given a medical assessment. If it is determined the person does not need immediate medical attention, they are given access to the county’s treatment services and connected to the county’s Crisis Response Team.
As Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Wes Adams explained in a press briefing, this program reflects a growing desire in law enforcement to look at addiction differently – realizing that those struggling with substance use disorders need help, not jail time.
The County Health Department is following up with individuals seeking help to determine which treatments are best suited to their needs. They are offering services such as medication-assisted treatment at county clinics and a peer-support network that connects individuals new to recovery with individuals who have been in long-term recovery.