Maryland State Senator Addie Eckardt

State Senator Addie Eckardt’s office submitted these responses to the American Opioid Podcast on 3/4/2019 1:02:18 PM.

What district of Maryland do you represent?

District 37

Briefly, how would you describe the opioid crisis in your state?

The opioid crisis in Maryland was declared as a state of emergency by Governor Hogan to establish an emergency response system called the Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center to decrease fatalities from opioid overdoses. From that initial framework, the Governor has been working closely with the Behavioral Health Adminstration and the Department of Health to establish a system that addresses prevention, awareness, intervention, treatment and recovery.

What are the two or three most significant bills that have been introduced in your chamber to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state?

24/7 Crisis Intervention, Crisis Response Team, Naloxone Accessibility, Mandatory Prescription Drug Montoring, Introduction of Peer Recovery Specialists and continued bills to increase education within schools and our community.

What was your involvement, if any, in those bills (e.g., introduction, advocacy, vote pledge)?

I've worked closely with local providers so they could have input in the bills as they were discussed and worked on. I also promoted a comprehensive system to promote mental health and substance abuse disorder as one overall issue.

Have any of the bills passed? If not, why?

Yes, all of them.

What was the most memorable experience you had while learning about the opioid crisis in your state?

I've worked as a psychiatric nurse for 45 years and what is significant is that they created a comprehensive system to treat brain disease.

If you had a magic wand that allowed you to pass any legislation you wanted in order to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state, what would that legislation look like?

Unfortunately, a magic wand does not help change individual choice of self destructive behaviors. Early intervention and Prevention in formative years is critical while providing healthy alternatives.