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Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford Hosts Lower Shore Heroin Task Force Regional Summit

Summit Covers Caroline, Dorchester, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, Worcester Counties

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford today joined with members of the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force, elected officials, law enforcement, and substance abuse advocates for the fifth regional summit to address Maryland’s growing heroin crisis. The summit was held in Salisbury at the St. Francis de Sales Philip & Barbara Long Parish Center.

The Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force, created by Governor Larry Hogan in February 2015 with two executive orders and led by Lt. Governor Rutherford, is made up of law enforcement professionals, elected officials, and substance abuse experts. The group will meet regularly and solicit input and guidance from a wide variety of sources throughout the state, including educators, families of those suffering from addiction, and other vested stakeholders.

“Throughout our campaign the governor and I visited every corner of the state, and everywhere we went, we heard tragic stories of how the heroin and addiction epidemic is destroying families and communities,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “This is a problem that affects Marylanders of all walks of life, regardless of socio-economic status, race, religion, education, or any other demographic. The first step to combatting this epidemic is to hear firsthand from those affected about how this crisis has impacted their communities, and getting their educated recommendations on what we can do.”

Last month, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released its 2014 report on drug and alcohol-related intoxication deaths. The report found that 86 percent of all overdose deaths in 2014 involved opioids, and a 21 percent increase in overdose deaths compared to 2013. There is growing evidence that many new heroin addictions stem from the abuse of prescription painkillers. Once addicted to these opioids, individuals may switch to increasingly cheap and “available” heroin.

Caroline County Commissioner President Larry Porter, Caroline County State’s Attorney Jonathan Newell, Dorchester County State’s Attorney William Jones, Somerset County Commissioner President Randy Laird, Somerset County State’s Attorney Daniel Powell, Talbot County Council President Corey Pack, Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble, Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver, Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis, Worcester County Commissioner President Jim Bunting Jr., and Worcester County Police Sergeant Nate Passwaters were in attendance.