How do you rate the county’s efforts to fight opioid addiction overdoses? What else, if anything, should the county be doing to combat the epidemic?
Shrodes: Harford County is a leader in the State and the Country in pioneering initiatives to fight the opiate epidemic including award-winning awareness campaigns, arts programs, peer to peer messaging, peer recovery coaches, agency partnerships, and an outstanding prevention team- the Harford County Office of Drug Control Policy. In 2017 the Office leveraged the County’s investment of $250,000 into more than a $1 million dollars for treatment and recovery. We are also fortunate to have ACR, a nonprofit organization that offers 24⁄7 support for individuals seeking treatment, in our County. Harford County Government and its partners (Harford County Sheriff’s Office, schools, hospitals, health department, Court System, CORE, etc.) have done a tremendous job raising awareness about the epidemic and are working daily to reduce the barriers to treatment and recovery. Moving forward, we must continue to work together to address gaps in our communities. We need treatment beds for youth, mental health interventions for middle and elementary school children, transitional/recovery housing, teen diversion and re-entry programs, and resources to support long-term sobriety. Further, we need to partner with the defense community to protect our first responders, and find more effective ways to detect fentanyl.