On Feb. 5, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced a grant of over one million dollars to Grassroots Crisis Center. The grant will be used to provide several opioid-related services, including construction of a larger residential facility, screening services for individuals in substance-related crises, medical teams, and care coordinators.
Prior to the grant, Grassroots was not able to provide proper services to those in drug-related crises. Individuals often came to the center hoping to receive immediate help, however the center was not equipped with the proper sources to do so. With these new developments in the clinic, more overdose emergencies are likely to be prevented.
The grant is particularly important for Maryland. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Maryland has one of the highest rates of overdose deaths related to opioids. In 2016, the national average for opioid-related deaths was 13.3 deaths per 1,000 people. In Maryland, this number was a staggering 30 deaths per 1,000 people.
According to Mt. Hebron’s nurse, Karen Torpey, “[Opioids] can affect the body in all ways, I mean, when you start to use them from the beginning, say, for pain control, and then progress to addiction, immediately there is mental incapabilities. You’ll go through the same drug hangover that you have if you drink, you’re not alert, you may not be oriented, so that does pose a problem, like operating a vehicle, or even being alone at home or whatever. Long term effects: you go into organ failure, seizures.”
A significant problem with the opioid crisis is education.
Maryland Lieutenant Governor, Boyd K. Rutherford said, “virtually every 3rd grader can tell you cigarettes are bad for you, but most don’t know that taking someone else’s prescription drugs is harmful.”
Given that Grassroots tends to visit schools to educate on certain issues, the development of their opioid services will allow for more students to become educated on drug related issues.
“Grassroots is a great center- family center- for help,” said Nurse Torpey. “If you have a problem, call their hotline or whatever and they’ll get you the guidance you need, direct you to the care that you should take, or if necessary, they can arrange group or family counseling to get you support. They try to assist you for any rehab centers, depending on your insurance, lack of, or any insurance you do have. They’re a great family support center.”
Despite the apparent growth in the opioid epidemic, especially in Maryland, resources like Grassroots will likely provide a beacon of hope for those struggling with substance abuse and addiction. The support of Calvin Ball for Grassroots promotes assistance for non-profit services and crisis centers.