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The Office of Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford

Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford Hosts Maryland Heroin and Opioid Educational Forum

State and Local Officials Visit Westminster High School, Address Students

WESTMINSTER, MD – Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford today hosted the first-ever Maryland Heroin and Opioid Educational Forum for students at Westminster High School in Carroll County. The forum was part of a full day of events in the county with the Hogan-Rutherford administration, following a Regional Cabinet Meeting hosted at Carroll Community College.

“Any third grader can tell you that smoking is dangerous, and we must work to make sure that our kids fully understand the dangers of the opioids that are ravaging our communities and taking the lives of Marylanders every single day,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “Education and public awareness go hand-in-hand with prevention, and are an essential component of our efforts to turn the tide in this heroin and opioid crisis.”

Lt. Governor Rutherford was joined by state and local officials leading efforts to combat the heroin and opioid crisis, including Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, Dennis Schrader; Executive Director of the Governor’s Opioid Operational Command Center, Clay Stamp; Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention, Glenn Fueston; Carroll County Commissioner Steve Wantz; Carroll County State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo; Carroll County Sheriff Jim DeWees; Carroll County Health Officer Ed Singer; Presiding Judge of the Carroll County Drug Treatment Court, Judge Fred Hecker; and Clinical Director of the Carroll County Youth Service Bureau, Joyce Agatone.

During the forum, panelists discussed Maryland’s evolving heroin and opioid epidemic, for which the Hogan administration declared a State of Emergency this past January. The forum highlighted the work being done by the Hogan-Rutherford administration, including the newly established Opioid Operational Command Center, a joint effort of twelve state agencies to facilitate better and more rapid collaboration between state and local public health, human services, and public safety entities to reduce the harmful impact of opioid addiction on Maryland communities.

The forum also highlighted the administration’s 2017 Heroin Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement Initiative, a multi-pronged legislative package including bills to increase the penalty for drug dealers who knowingly sell deadly fentanyl, require health care providers to prescribe the lowest effective dose of an opioid, deliver life-saving naloxone to additional at-risk individuals, and increase school and community-based education.