2023 Public Policy Agenda

A new Administration in the State House and dozens of new members of the Maryland General Assembly mean tremendous opportunities to make more progress in the hard work to prevent addictions, help people access treatment, reverse opioid overdose death trends, and support people in recovery.

Good Samaritan Bill

The General Assembly has given final approval to our Good Samaritan bill that will clarify that both the person experiencing the overdose or medical emergency as well as the person calling for help, are covered by the immunities under the law.  We've got a long way to go in this work, but every step forward helps people. Please thank the lead sponsors of the bills, Delegate Jon Cardin and Senator Anthony Muse.

Passed the General Assembly.

9-8-8 Trust Fund

Funding Requiring the Governor to include in the annual budget bill for fiscal year 2025 an appropriation of $12,000,000 to the 9-8-8 Trust Fund.

Passed the General Assembly.

Opioids - Opioid Restitution Advisory Council and Fund and Overdose Response Program

Authorizing the Attorney General to direct that an Opioid Restitution Fund Advisory Council committee be formed if required by a court or administrative order or settlement agreement entered into by the Attorney General; establishing that the Opioid Restitution Fund shall retain the amount of settlement revenues deposited in the Fund; requiring the Secretary of Health to establish and administer a grant program for the distribution of funds to political subdivisions in the State in accordance with certain requirements; etc.

Passed the General Assembly.

Funding and Access to Care

NCADD-Maryland will support efforts to increase public investment in substance use disorder treatment, prevention and recovery support services in the FY 2024 State budget. Efforts to add greater flexibility in reimbursement methods as proposed by the Behavior Health Coalition will also be supported.

  • Make permanent the allowance for the use of both video and audio-only telehealth and maintain payment parity between virtual and in-person delivery of health services
  • Fund local, community-based programs that provide non-treatment interventions to address opioid overdoses and ensure meaningful involvement of the Opioid Restitution Fund Advisory Council in determining direction of funding investments
  • Advocate for a continuum of care for young people including residential SUD treatment for adolescents, case management, and wrap-around services
  • Mitigate the impact of the failed public behavioral health administrative service organization on treatment programs
  • Support efforts led by the Behavioral Health Coalition to require the State to pursue implementation of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and Collaborative Care models
  • Support efforts to sustain funding for the 988 Behavioral Health Crisis Hotline

Recovery Support

NCADD-Maryland will work to significantly strengthen the state’s recovery support system.

  • Work with the new Administration to develop a statewide recovery services plan
  • Invest in recovery supports not reimbursed by Medicaid, including recovery residences, crisis services, and peer recovery specialists
  • Expand the types of programs that employ Certified Peer Recovery Specialists that can bill Medicaid for reimbursement
  • Invest heavily in more affordable housing throughout the state

Cannabis Legalization

In the implementation of legalizing adult recreational use of cannabis, ensure measures are in place that address a range of public health concerns, and reinvest revenue generated from legalization into public health services and communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.

Planning & Technology

  • Use overdose death data to better identify where in the state harm reduction and treatment/recovery support services are needed
  • Use race and ethnicity data to address the growing disparities in overdose deaths and more limited access to medication for OUD in communities of color in Maryland
  • Expand Medicaid benefit to cover the use of digital therapeutics used in treatment of substance use and mental health disorders

Problem Gambling

Ensure resources and policies are in place to prevent and treat people with gambling problems, including with expanded sports wagering opportunities.

Drug Paraphernalia for Administration – Decriminalization

Repealing the prohibition against a person using or possessing with intent to use, delivering or selling under certain circumstances, or manufacturing or possessing with intent to deliver or sell under certain circumstances drug paraphernalia to inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled dangerous substance; altering a prohibition against a person possessing or distributing controlled paraphernalia under certain circumstances, etc.

Passed the House and died in the Senate Committee without a vote.

Mental Health - Workforce Development:

Fund Established Establishing the Behavioral Health Workforce Investment Fund to provide reimbursement for costs associated with educating, training, certifying, recruiting, placing, and retaining behavioral health professionals and paraprofessionals; and requiring the Maryland Health Care Commission, in coordination with certain entities, to conduct a comprehensive behavioral health workforce needs assessment on or before October 1, 2024, and submit the assessment to certain committees of the General Assembly by October 15, 2024.

Passed the General Assembly.

Recovery Residence Grant Program – Establishment

Establishing the Recovery Residence Grant Program within the Maryland Department of Health to award competitive grants to recovery residences to support operations, services, and programs; requiring the Department to establish certain procedures; requiring the annual budget bill to include $500,000 for the Program in each of fiscal years 2024 through 2027; and requiring the Department to submit an annual report to the Governor and General Assembly about the number of grants and the program's grant recipients by December 1, 2024.

Passed the General Assembly.

Public Health - Overdose and Infectious Disease Prevention Services Program:

Authorizing a community-based organization, with the approval of the Maryland Department of Health, to establish an Overdose and Infectious Disease Prevention Services Program to provide a location for the consumption of pre-obtained drugs, provide sterile needles, administer first aid, and certain other services; authorizing a Program to bill the insurance carrier of an individual who uses the services; authorizing the Department to approve no more than 6 programs, preferably two in urban, two in rural, and two in suburban areas; etc.

Died in Committees without a vote.

Harm Reduction and Decriminalization

NCADD-Maryland will support a number of harm reduction strategies that assist individuals who use substances to be safer and to make organizations and systems less harmful. Overdose deaths are increasing, and data shows a significant increase in overdose fatalities among Black Marylanders. NCADD-Maryland will support policy and funding proposals that are aimed at addressing inequities will be supported, and all proposals will be examined through a racial equity lens.

  • Create overdose prevention sites in Baltimore City and other places in Maryland where people are dying of overdoses
  • Decriminalize personal use amounts of currently illegal drugs [and paraphernalia]
  • Continue to appropriately decrease police presence in behavioral health crisis situations

Parity Compliance

NCADD-Maryland will continue to support the Maryland Parity Coalition’s efforts to ensure private insurance carriers and Maryland’s Medicaid program comply with the federal Parity Act..

  • Create a Consumer Health Access Program that provides hands-on assistance to consumers and family members it utilizing their insurance to access the appropriate level of SUD and/or mental health services
  • Ensure commercial insurance carriers and Maryland Medicaid comply with the Parity Act

Fighting Stigma

Reject all proposals that perpetuate the stigma against people with substance use and mental health disorders, oppose quality treatment programs in the community, and restrict people’s choices regarding the kind of clinical treatment they choose, including treatment assisted with all medications

Contact Information

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence,
Maryland Chapter
28 East Ostend Street Suite 303
Baltimore, MD  21230
410-625-6482 (main)
410-625-6484 (fax)

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