Friday, December 9, 2022


Sen. Markey rallies with unions and airport workers in D.C; PA Democrats 'showed up' for rural voters; Canadian mining expansion threatens tribes and watersheds in the Northwest.


The U.S. House of Representatives passes same-sex marriage protections, Brittany Griner comes back to the U.S, while Paul Whelan remains detained in Russia, and a former anti-abortion lobbyist talks politics and the Supreme Court.


The Farm Workforce Modernization Act could help more farmers, the USDA is stepping-up to support tribal nations, and Congress is urged to revive the expanded child tax credit.

As MD Opioid Deaths Explode in Pandemic, Town Halls Aim to Halt Crisis


Monday, August 23, 2021   

BALTIMORE - The Maryland Stop Opioid Overdose Strategy, or Maryland S-O-S program, launches town hall meetings this week to address ways to combat the health crisis that has skyrocketed during the pandemic.

Starting in Allegheny County on Thursday, the meetings are a chance for Marylanders to talk about their struggles and hear methods for helping opioid users, according to Robin Rickard, director of Maryland's Opioid Operational Command Center.

She said officials were encouraged when the state's opioid deaths dropped in 2019 for the first time in years. But they're now taking a more aggressive approach.

"Right when the numbers started going down, COVID hit," said Rickard. "So last year, Maryland went up 18%, as a nation 30%. Maryland did do better than the national average - but again, we're not happy with that."

She said the town halls are a chance to hear about what works and what isn't working following the worst year on record for overdose deaths.

Thursday's meeting at Allegheny College in Cumberland starts at 5 o'clock. More information is online at ',' or on the Maryland S-O-S Facebook page.

Rickard said she thinks it's important to realize opioid abuse isn't just a rural problem in Maryland.

"Fentanyl is what the driving force is, and it's everywhere," said Rickard. "And at these Maryland town hall meetings, we will be educating the public and the community of what the statistics are in their jurisdiction, as compared to other jurisdictions."

She pointed out the S-O-S initiative also aims to educate people about the state's Opioid Restitution Fund. Created in 2019 by the General Assembly, it includes money from opioid manufacturers' lawsuit settlements for treatment and recovery services.

"We're not spending any of this money until we hear from all the Marylanders," said Rickard, "from treatment providers, from state and local partners, because we want to make the best decisions that we possibly can."

A record-breaking 2,500 Marylanders died of opioid overdoses in 2020.

The numbers continue to rise - from January to March of this year, 614 residents died of opioid abuse. That's almost a 6% increase from the same time last year.

get more stories like this via email
A bill approved by Congress repeals the federal Defense of Marriage Act. That law, passed in 1996, prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Congress has signed off on a bill that preserves federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. A legal expert in Wisconsin says it …

Social Issues

Airport service workers rallied in Washington, D.C., Thursday to demand Congress pass legislation ensuring they receive a livable wage with stronger …

Social Issues

Before the pandemic, one in five people in Los Angeles County lacked consistent access to food - and in 2021, one in four low-income families …

According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Peach State is sixth in the nation for public EV charging stations, at more than 1,500 outlets. (Michael Flippo/Adobe Stock)


Electric vehicles are an environmentally friendly way to get from one place to another, but the lack of charging stations often limits drivers to …

Social Issues

As Americans make end-of-year donations to their favorite causes, those that help children with cancer and their families say these households need …

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee was founded in 1968 to defend the rights and basic human dignity of farm workers regardless of immigration status. (Adobe Stock)


A labor union representing agricultural workers in Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia says it isn't waiting around for federal immigration reform to …

Social Issues

West Virginia's prison population has ballooned, and formerly incarcerated people face numerous obstacles when they are released. A Charleston-based …


As the year comes to a close, the Sierra Club of Connecticut is looking back on some of its accomplishments and challenges. The group focuses on …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021