Baltimore City’s Three-Pronged Strategy for Responding to Opioids
- Saving lives with naloxone
- Expanding access to addiction treatment
- Reducing stigma and preventing addiction
A Nationally Recognized Model
Baltimore’s aggressive three-prong strategy for responding to the opioid epidemic has been recognized as one of the strongest in the nation. This aggressive campaign has been lauded by former Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli, FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, and U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and gained national media attention as a model for the country from USA Today, National Public Radio (NPR), CNN, and other outlets.
Saving Lives With Naloxone
In collaboration with partners including Behavioral Health System Baltimore, Health Care for the Homeless, and Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition, the Baltimore City Health Department and its Community Risk Reduction Services have held over 5,824 naloxone training’s, had 49,626 people trained to respond to an opioid overdose, and distributed over 42,626 naloxone kits for the reversal of opioid overdoses. These efforts have led to over 3173 overdose reversals in the community.
Addiction Treatment Expansion
24/7 Phone Hotline for Behavioral Health Services
The first step to ensuring access to treatment is to make it easy for people to find services and get referrals to treatment. In October 2015, we worked with partners to combine these lines into a single 24/7 hotline to create a more comprehensive resource for the community.
If you or someone you know needs help with substance use or mental health in Baltimore City, call the hotline at 410-433-5175
24/7 Stabilization Center
The most common health concern of frequent users of emergency medical services in Baltimore City is substance use intoxication or mental illness.
In April of 2018 BCHD opened the state’s first stabilization center. The stabilization center will revitalize space at the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in West Baltimore. A pilot center has opened in Tuerk House, which is a substance abuse center. The Stabilization Center provides short-term crisis services for individuals who are intoxicated from drugs or alcohol, links to people with substance use disorders to treatment and recovery support services such as SBIRT, first aid, food, and showers. Clients may only be transported through EMS/EMT services in order to utilize the facility.
Increasing Capacity for Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders
In order to address the increasing need for treatment options that work, BCHD has convened dozens of stakeholders to develop and comprehensive opioid prevention and treatment framework including improved access to evidence-based treatment.
- We have worked with the city’s hospital emergency departments to encourage buprenorphine induction and referrals to treatment following the SBIRT process.
- BCHD has also launched a mobile treatment van coined The Spot, where buprenorphine is initiated alongside other forms of care access including Hep C and HIV treatment.
- In the fall of 2017, we also began a hub and spoke model of treatment through IBR-REACH ensuring that everyone who needs treatment has access to a flexible network of providers to meet their care needs. Patients receive individualized, comprehensive care; all three medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of opioid use disorder are available. After a patient’s condition has improved, they have the option to continue their treatment at a primary care clinic—a “spoke”—where the treatment for opioid use disorder is integrated into the rest of the medical care.
Levels of Care
People suffering from substance abuse disorder move through America’s hospitals every year, and the services that hospitals do or do not provide to these patients have a significant effect on their morbidity and mortality. As a result, we launched the Levels of Care initiative, which creates a common foundation for how hospitals should be responding to the opioid epidemic. It is based on a similar initiative in Rhode Island where the number of overdose deaths decreased significantly. This is an initiative that has been developed with active input from hospitals around the city. A hospital can be ranked level 3, 2, 1 – with Level 1 hospital offering the most comprehensive response.
The protocols in the levels are evidence-based and include recommendations such as:
- The ability to maintain the capacity to initiate medication-assisted treatment
- The ability to offer peer recovery support services or similar support services
- The ability to screen patients that are in hospital campus outpatient clinics for at-risk substance use and substance use disorder (SUD)
Help is Available
- For help with mental health or substance use, call the 24/7 Crisis Referral hotline to find available emergency treatment options for you or a loved one: (410) 433-5175
- Baltimore City Health Department – Overdose Response Program
- Poison Control Center: 1-800-222-1222
Looking for drug treatment? Referral slots available through CRRS Needle Exchange Services
- Community Risk Reduction Needle Exchange Program: 410-396-3731
Behavioral Health System Baltimore: 410-433-5175
Harm Reduction Coalition: www.harmreduction.org
Map of Substance Use Treatment Providers in Baltimore City
Join the Baltimore City Health Department as we encourage city residents to use art to tell their stories of how the opioid crisis has affected the City. Tag your artwork with the hashtag #StopTheStigma in order to participate in our social media initiative.
2019 National Recovery Month September is Recovery Month National Recovery Month is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life. Recovery Month reminds us that recovery from addiction is …
Harm reduction practices keep people safe
What is Harm Reduction? Harm reduction programs have demonstrated effectiveness in minimizing HIV and HCV transmission among persons suffering from substance abuse disorder.
The Baltimore City Health Department Community Risk Reduction Services team hosts a number of free harm reduction and education services throughout Baltimore City. The CRRS Syringe Exchange program has been providing services including overdose prevention education and distributing naloxone since 2004 through the Staying Alive program. Needle Exchange services are provided in 16 locations during 26 weekly time slots throughout the city of Baltimore.
The CRRS team provides harm reduction in a non-judgmental manner that reduces the negative consequences of drug use among high-risk individuals and the general public.
If you are currently using drugs, especially opioids, there are steps you can take to keep yourself safer from an overdose:
- Never use alone.
- Have naloxone with you and know how to use it.
- Go slow, especially if you are using something different from what you normally have.
If you need help with substance use or mental health
Call the 24/7 Crisis referral hotline for Baltimore City at 410-433-5175 to find.