Maryland Addiction Treatment
Maryland deals with one of the worst drug epidemics in the United States. Its death rate, at consistently higher that the national average since 1999. During 2017, the year that President Trump declared an opioid epidemic, 2,282 people in the state died from drug- and alcohol-related deaths from intoxication. That number includes anything from accidents while driving to overdose.
Maryland residents have entered rehab with an addiction to one or more of the following substances:
Each of these poses a threat to Maryland’s communities, but heroin is cited as the most problematic. Baltimore’s historic seaport serves as an international gateway for drug trafficking, which heavily contributes to the state’s drug issues.
Rehab admissions for heroin addiction spiked almost 20 percent from 2012 to 2013, more than any other admission in the state.
Another growing concern for Maryland residents is the prevalence of synthetic cathinone and cannabimimetics – otherwise known as bath salts and spice, respectively. These synthetic “designer drugs” have become extremely popular with Maryland’s youth population.
Many teens and young adults experiment with bath salts and spice, but then move on to becoming addicted to more dangerous substances.
Maryland Drug Laws
Maryland courts witness a staggering number of drug-related crimes every year. But the prevalence of these violations doesn’t make the penalties any less serious. In addition to the legal consequences, drug abuse can take away educational or job opportunities.
Marijuana possession for personal use is a crime in Maryland. However, the state has decriminalized marijuana possession to a certain degree. Those caught in possession of fewer than 10 grams won’t face any jail time, but they will be charged with a civil offense and face a $100 maximum fine. If the person is caught with any amount between 10 grams or 50 pounds, the penalties are more severe. Sentencing can include jail time of up to five years and a maximum $100,000 fine.
Possession of marijuana with the intention to distribute is handled separately in Maryland. Violators are immediately charged as felons, with a maximum sentence of 40 years and a hefty fine of up to $1 million.
Medical Marijuana Laws in Maryland
As of August 2016, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission began announcing license pre-approvals for medical marijuana growers and dispensaries. Approximately 16 of Maryland’s counties, as well as the city of Baltimore, will allow legal access to medical marijuana in 2017.
Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Maryland include:
- Chronic pain
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
Access to medical marijuana will have some limitations. Patients can only get a 30-day supply, and no edible forms of marijuana will be permitted. At-home plant cultivation will also be illegal under state law.
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Illicit Drug Possession
Like most states in the U.S., Maryland has cracked down on illicit drug abuse crimes through tough and unforgiving penalties. The severity of Maryland’s penalties depends on the type of substance, as well as the amount involved.
Maryland classifies controlled dangerous substances (CDS) in five different categories, or schedules. Schedule I and schedule II drugs are considered the most dangerous, while schedules III through V are perceived as less dangerous.
|Schedule I||Heroin, marijuana, ecstasy|
|Schedule II||Cocaine, methamphetamine, morphine|
|Schedule III||Anabolic steroids, ketamine|
|Schedule IV||Xanax, Valium, Ambien|
|Schedule V||Cough suppressants, including Lyrica and Codeine|
Although Maryland officials have worked toward treatment approaches for first-time, nonviolent drug offenders, the law still requires sentencing for some drug-related crimes. Typically, the maximum penalty for CDS possession is four years in prison and a $25,000 fine. However, if you’re found in possession of a CDS with the intent to distribute, you can face up to 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Certain factors can also affect an offender’s punishment, including the location of the crime or the number of previous offenses.
Maryland Harm Reduction Laws
Many states understand that no matter how many laws there are against drug abuse, people will still find ways to get their fix. This is why Maryland has adopted a number of harm reduction laws, which aim to reduce the health and economic risks associated with drug addiction.
2016 Syringe Access Expansion Laws
Maryland has witnessed a sharp increase in HIV infections within the last few years. In 2010, the state ranked number two in the nation for new HIV cases. Many of these diagnoses were a result of drug use through syringe injection.
In May 2016, the governor of Maryland signed the Opioid-Associated Disease Prevention and Outreach act to provide thousands of Maryland’s residents with greater access to sterile syringe exchange programs.
Quote/Highlight: “Syringe service programs are not only vital to reducing the harm of injection drug use, but they provide a humane and compassionate approach to addressing substance-use disorders,” said Mark Sine, Director of the Baltimore Student Harm Reduction Coalition.
With this new law, Maryland joins the growing number of states with recently reformed syringe access laws. By providing residents with syringe exchange programs, communities can work to raise awareness, lower the risk of transmitted diseases through drug use, and in turn, save more lives.
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Maryland’s Overdose Response Program (ORP)
The state’s Overdose Response Program was launched in 2014 to train people on administering Naloxone, a life-saving medication that reverses opioid-related overdoses. Successfully trained individuals receive a certificate that allows them to obtain a prescription for Naloxone, and keep it on hand in case an overdose occurs. Family members and friends of opioid users, rehab center staff and law enforcement officers are qualified to participate in the program.
Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene oversees the educational program, which teaches participants how to recognize and respond to opioid overdoses.
The ORP’s curriculum teaches participants how to:
- Perform rescue breathing techniques
- Properly administer naloxone to someone having an overdose
- Care for the overdosing individual until emergency medical help arrives
The training stresses the importance of calling 911 in the event of an overdose, as well as reporting the incident to the Maryland Poison Center.
Addiction Treatment in Maryland
The Substance Abuse Certification Unit is the licensing agent in Maryland that monitors the state’s addiction treatment centers. Maryland’s treatment programs provide a number of personalized services to help people overcome many forms of addiction.
Some of the addiction services offered in Maryland include:
- Opioid maintenance therapy
- Outpatient treatment programs
- Residential programs
- Early intervention services
- Detoxification treatment
- Community outreach and education
For those concerned with paying out of pocket for treatment, Maryland has plenty of centers that accept health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. Under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, insurance providers are required to cover addiction treatment. Be sure to contact your insurance provider to find out which types of treatment are covered under your benefits.
Another option to consider is Maryland’s numerous state-funded addiction treatment centers. These programs are located throughout the entire state. However, some of these programs may lack certain services, like medically supervised detox. If a center doesn’t have detox, medications won’t be prescribed to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms during a drug withdrawal.
Find a Treatment Center
Once you or your loved one is ready to get sober, the next step is picking the right treatment center.
Although Maryland’s rehabs are prepared to handle all types of substance addiction, it’s possible that the best treatment for you or your loved one is located out of state. But the distance from home shouldn’t deter you from making such a decision. Many people have found tremendous success with recovery by opting to travel for rehab. Because they’re further away from the environment that once caused their addiction, they’re able to focus solely on achieving sobriety and maintaining a healthy new lifestyle.
No matter where you decide to go for rehab, treatment providers can answer any questions you may have. Contact a treatment provider today.