Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh. Photo via Anne Arundel County.

A little over a month after losing his re-election bid for Anne Arundel County executive, Republican Steve Schuh has been appointed as head of the Hogan administration’s Opioid Operational Command Center.

Schuh, 58, will replace Clay Stamp, currently the executive director of the addiction-focused department that Hogan created by executive order in early 2017, when he declared a state of emergency for the opioid epidemic. The Opioid Operational Command Center is entrusted with coordinating resources from across Maryland to address addiction, sharing data between agencies and directing the state’s overall strategy in the fight.

Stamp will return to his former post as assistant county manager and emergency services director for Talbot County, according to a release.

Hogan thanked Stamp for his service in a statement. Of Schuh, he said, “I know that Steve’s first-hand experience as county executive, including the local programs he championed to help to fight this crisis, will serve our state well as we continue working to save the lives of Marylanders every day.”

Schuh served in Anne Arundel County’s top post from 2014 to 2018, before he was beat in an upset victory last month by Democrat Steuart Pittman. He also previously represented District 31, which includes Pasadena, Glen Burnie, Brooklyn Park and other communities, in the House of Delegates from 2007 to 2014. Before his career in politics, he worked in investment banking.

His former jurisdiction logged the third-most opioid-related overdose deaths in 2017 with 198, behind Baltimore County (323) and Baltimore City (692), per state figures. Anne Arundel County tallied nearly 400 opioid-related overdose fatalities from 2014 through 2017, plus another 129 deaths in the first six months of this year, the latest available data show.

While serving as county executive, Schuh’s administration pursued a “three-pronged” approach to tackling the addiction epidemic, which involved providing more education about the dangers of opioids, expanding treatment opportunities increasing the law enforcement presence in drug-trafficking areas. That included rollout out the Safe Stations program, which designated police and fire stations as spots where users could receive recovery help, and the Not My Child program addressing family substance-abuse education.

Schuh referenced the multi-tiered approach in a statement, saying it was “aligned with the governor’s strategy.”

“I look forward to working hand-in-hand with our communities and partners across the state to continue to fight this crisis,” he said.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...