A new portal rolled out today by Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration offers data, directions to health clinics and a range of other resources relating to opioid and heroin abuse in addiction-afflicted Maryland.
The URL for the site, beforeitstoolate.maryland.gov, capitalizes on the desperation-filled tagline employed by Hogan’s administration in a March public service announcement that featured Michael Kelly, a.k.a. Doug Stamper from “House of Cards.”
According to a statement from Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, the new site will “provide addicts, family members, educators, and health professionals with the resources they need to get help, understand the disease of addiction, and reduce stigma, in order to save lives.”
Maryland’s spiraling opioid, heroin and fentanyl overdose crisis is brutal in nature, and horrifying when put into numbers. State data indicate nearly 1,500 residents died during the first nine months of last year (figures for October through December are still unavailable) lost their lives in fatal overdoses, up from 1,259 in all 12 months of 2015 and a hellish climb from the 465 overdose deaths recorded in 2010.
With the problem continuing to worsen year-by-year, Hogan called a state of emergency at the beginning of March. The executive order freed up $50 million in funding for prevention efforts and collaborations between local, state and federal agencies. He also appointed his senior emergency management advisor, Clay Stamp, to run the newly created Opioid Operational Command Center, which is tasked with mobilizing resources offer overdose prevention and recovery resources.
Hogan himself has been touched by the opioid crisis, having lost his cousin to a heroin overdose at some point in his life.
“This new web portal is another tool to raise awareness and provide critical resources to all Marylanders so that we can save thousands of lives, before it’s too late,” the governor said in a statement today.
The website has tutorials on how to administer the overdose-reversing drug Naloxone, stories from recovering addicts, hotlines, options for finding treatment centers and links to connect overdose survivors with one another, among other tools.