About 18,900 people in Baltimore City use heroin, according to a report released by a task force assigned to looking at treatment options in the city. The document also includes a plan designed to get that number down.
The report from the Mayor’s Heroin Treatment and Prevention Task Force calls for the city to open a treatment center that is open 24 hours, seven days a week to provide “on-demand treatment” for people struggling with addiction to heroin.
The city’s health department is also launching a new public awareness campaign to combat overdoses that is housed at the website, DontDie.org. The site provides information on using naloxone (or Narcan), which can reverse effects of the overdose. Among the features is a video of Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen demonstrating how to use naloxone.
“More people die from overdoses in our city than die from homicides every year,” she says in the video.
The campaign comes as health officials are making an effort to get naxolone into more people’s hands. Last week, U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings said the state was being charged too much for the drug
Here are a few more recommendations from the report:
- Use more data to learn how many people have substance abuse issues, treatment availability and what treatment works
- Have treatment centers sign good neighbor agreements with surrounding communities
- Improve coordination between health officials, police officers, treatment centers and others
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