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Proposal: Expansion of opioid drug rehabilitation programs in Maryland

Opioid drug addiction and the impact of opioid drug addiction seems to be creeping more and more into the conversation in the media along with other information outlets. However, it is rare to hear anyone offer any information or suggestions on how to reduce the problem of opioid drug abuse. Without addressing how to properly attack drug abuse, the issue will continue. By creating more access and resistant rehabilitation programs, the issue of wide-spread opioid drug abuse can be addressed. Without providing some form of resources and care for the people struggling with opioid drug abuse, the issue will worsen. 

The Issue

Problem Defined

The state of Maryland has faced a massive increase of opioid drug abuse in recent years. This has created more concerns and social issues within the state. By offering more access to rehabilitation programs within the state, the problem can be dealt with at its source. These centers and programs can work to educate and offer the counseling the people struggling with drug addictions require. 

Expand all bullets
The opioid overdose rate in Maryland is twofold greater than the national rate of opioid overdoses.MORE

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Maryland had 1,985 overdose deaths in 2017. This means that for every one-hundred thousand people, there are thirty-two point two opioid overdose deaths in the state of Maryland. The national average is much lower at fourteen point six deaths per one-hundred thousand people in 2017. 

Maryland is rated in the top five states for overdose related deaths.MORE

It had been found Maryland had fallen in the being one of the top five states with opioid-related overdose deaths. This is mainly due to the influx of synthetic opioids into the state. This information was found in the National Institute on Drug Abuse report on the state of Maryland's opioid drug impact.

Maryland has had an increase in the number of opioid deaths for nearly ten years straight.MORE

According to an article by the Baltimore Sun, the number of opioid drug related deaths has increased every year for seven years. This article again credited the influx of synthetic opioids as a major factor in these deaths.  While the number of opioid related deaths had increased each year, the number of none opioid related deaths has stayed fairly stagnate. 

A large portion of the drug related deaths in Maryland involved opioid drugs.MORE

According to information from a website based on aiding people within in Maryland to find some help with drug addiction, most of the deaths from drug related incidents were opioid related. A whooping eighty percent of drug related death in Maryland were connected to opioid drugs. 

The issue spreads to all areas of Maryland.MORE

According to an article by the Baltimore Business Journal, each one of Maryland's twenty-four jurisdictions has experienced lost of residents from opioid related deaths in 2017. There was at least four deaths per county. The number of deaths increased in the counties with a more urban areas. 

Go deeper
What exactly are Opioids?

Johns Hopkins University - (April 28, 2018)


This website talks about what opioid drugs really are. It also mentions the different names of these drugs and what types of other drugs are considered opioids. Finally, it discusses what can happen to you if you use these drugs and the harm they can cause. 

A typical day in drug rehab centers

Addication Centers - (October 28, 2019)


This website shows what an everyday life is like for these patents starting when they get up in the morning to when they go to bed. Parts of treatment and recovery process centers are developing on new, healthy habits that are intended to become routine in post-discharge life. 


I am Loren McAlpine. This is my second year attending Allegany College of Maryland. I have lived around this area my whole life. My major is criminal justice. This heroin and opioid is a big issue in this community because of all the overdoses that have happened in this community.

Hello, my name is Wesley Miller and I am a student at Allegany College of Maryland. I am in a criminal justice major, and I have lived in Allegany County for my whole life. Overdosing in  this area has been a bad thing for a while and just has been getting worse. My mom and dad work with this problem on a daily basis, by working with the community to try to help save the people who are overdosing on the drug.

Hello, my name is Destiny Warnick. I am currently a student at Allegany College of Maryland. I am majoring in Social Work. I have grown up in Allegany County for my entire life. I have been a student at Allegany College of Maryland for one semester.  This issue connects to my major and future goals because this is becoming a massive social issue within my community. This issue I have witnessed first hand how heroin and other opioid drugs have become a major community issue within the area I have grown -up in.

Loren McAlpine
Diane McMahon
Associate Professor of Sociology - Allegany College of Maryland
I am a sociology professor at Allegany College of Maryland, which is located in Cumberland, MD. I also work as the Faculty Director of the Service Learning and Civic Engagement (SLCE) Center at the college. I have worked in a variety of professions in my past that focuses on helping the homeless. Most recently I was the director of a peace and justice organization in Pittsburgh.

I am a great supporter of the work of TheChisel.com because it helps raise up topics that students and community members can work on together, in a bi-partisan manner, to address.
Wesley Miller
Destiny Warnick

The Solution

Proposed Actions
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Increase the number of rehabilitation centersMORE

This the primary goal of our proposal is to increase the number of rehabilitation centers across the state.  This would give people the chance to get the assistance they need, without having to travel far or be put on long waiting lists. 

Find ways to make these facilities more financially accessible when neededMORE

The financial burdens of attending rehabilitation centers can be far too costly. So by allocating funds for people to attend these rehabilitation programs went they lack the money to afford it themselves. This way Maryland is creating an equal-access program, and not leaving the financially unable to afford the program. 

Increase the capacity of in-patient facilitiesMORE

In order to increase the effectiveness, the  programs must be able to assist a large number of people. This would be beneficial because people would enter the facilities when they need the help the most. When facilities are small, people continue to use while they wait for a place within a program. By increasing the avalbilities of these programs people will get the help they need, faster. 

Offer more resource to allow the people involved in out-patient programs to re-acclimate to society.MORE

While out-patient rehabilitation programs are beneficial to people because they can continue to work and access the world. This idea of out-patient rehabilitation has its pros it also has a major con. This allows for people to continue to access the drugs, so they can turn back to the old ways. By offering more information to allow these people to integrate better into the world, they are more likely to stay sober in the future. These resources keep people from returning to life before drugs. 

Create wide-spread access to rehabilitation programs across Maryland.MORE

Within Maryland the number of rehabilitation centers are primarily located in the area around central Maryland. However because drug addiction is widespread across the state, more of these facilities need to be in the Western part of the state. This would prevent people from having to travel long distances to get the help they require. It would make the process of getting addiction help easier. 

Expected Results
Expand all bullets
Without the access to better rehab facilities people are more likely for relapse.MORE

People who don’t receive treatment for their addiction have a 50% higher risk of using the drug later on. When people enter these facilities they are more likely to find the help they need from trained professionals who know what they are doing with the problem.  A third of the people who opt into these facilities stay sober for six months after the program ends causing long term results. Seven out of ten people that participates in these addiction programs made recovery breakthroughs that helped them find the core to their addiction. Then about two thirds of people who complete these programs found employment within the first month after their drug treatment program is over. A survey shows that addicts that attend these programs found that it improved their life.

Inpatient therapy resultsMORE

Inpatient therapy has a higher effective rate than outpatient therapy. “Most former heroin addicts have inpatient rehabilitation to thank for their recovery. Inpatient rehab eliminates the outside environmental and social factors that make it harder to achieve sobriety.” Every day at rehab is always a little different because it also focuses on mental and physical health.

Outpatient therapy resultsMORE

Outpatient Therapy helps the patient because they are getting the treatment they need but don’t have to leave their everyday life. This type of therapy also has a very low chance of relapse because it isolates the patient from the stress and daily issues in their life. When the patient is released into the real world it can be scary and shocking to them. But the patient when returned to the world is faced with all the temptations that triggered their addiction before their treatment started.


There's no denying building, staffing, and maintaining these sorts of facilities will be an expensive undertaking. There would have to be funding for all of the building materials and labor, payment of employees, the resources the facilities would need, and the supplies necessary to make the facilities comfortable for the patients. While this will be an expensive project, there are federal grants to aid in the expanses of these community projects. It could also be possible to gain some form of revenue based on the cost to the patent. This revenue would be out of pocket cost to stay within the facility, or the amount paid by the insurance company of the patient. 

The Conversation

5 months ago
My cousin who was an avid drug user has been to a rehabilitation center to get rehab for his addiction. He was put into an inpatient therapy for his addiction for 3 months in Mexico. He was also put into several outpatient centers and they didn’t work for him due to the pressure of his friends caused him to get back into using the drug more. So then he finally decided to attend an inpatient rehabilitation center when he went here he didn’t have to worry about the pressure of his friends. He hasn’t done any type of drug since 2016.

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