199 - Community Behavioral Health Association of Maryland



Public Health – Opioid Maintenance Programs – Licensing

Senate Finance Committee

February 18, 2015


CBH is the professional association for Maryland’s network of community-based programs serving children and adults who use the public mental health system. Our member agencies operate outpatient clinics, rehabilitation programs, and a variety of housing, vocational, crisis, and related support services that help people stay out of hospitals and participate in community life as productively as possible.

We oppose this bill because it will create additional barriers to licensing needed opioid maintenance programs at a time when Maryland is facing serious problems with heroin overdose and abuse of prescribed opioids. Consider the following statistics, taken from

Maryland’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Plan on 2013:

In 2008, poisoning became the leading cause of injury death in the United States with nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths caused by drugs. During the past three decades, the number of drug poisoning deaths increased six-fold.

Increases in opioid-related admissions to hospital emergency departments indicate that non-fatal overdoses across the U.S. are increasing at a rate similar to fatal overdoses.

The rate of ED admissions for misuse/abuse of oxycodone and hydrocodone products increased 255% and 149% respectively.

The highest rates of drug poisoning deaths are among persons of middle age. In 2008, poisoning was the leading cause of death in 30 states, including Maryland.

 Chronic opioid users with a history of substance abuse and mental health disorders are likely those at the greatest risk of overdose.

Given the enormous impact of opioid dependence and overdose on our health system, the criminal justice system, and our communities – not to mention the fiscal impact involved – policy makers should be helping to find ways to increase access on demand for individuals struggling with opioid addiction.

We urge an unfavorable report.