Sunday, November 9, 2014

Secretary Sharfstein's "Major Educational Campaign" is a Deliberate and Bogus Deception

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According to a report on WFMD Radio, "Drug and alcohol overdose deaths are on the increase in Maryland. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says so far in 2014, there have been 528 deaths from overdoses in the state, a 33% increase."  "Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the Secretary of DHMH, says most of these deaths are due to heroin. The agency says there's been a 46% rise in heroin-related deaths, and seven-fold increase in fentanyl-related deaths."

"DHMH says it's working to get the message out on how to prevent overdose deaths. 'We have a major educational campaign where we're asking people to call 211 to get linked in to treatment to help people who are addicted to drugs. We're also providing education on what to do in case of an overdose, and we've trained thousands of people to use opiate overdose reversal drugs in order to save someone's life,' Dr. Sharfstein says."

Dr. Sharfstein:  Marylanders recently witnessed a "major educational campaign" when would-be legislators tried to get votes by swaying the hearts and minds of the state's voters through radio and television advertising.  Printing a stack of posters with useless and misleading information on them does NOT constitute a major educational campaign.  And we know YOU are smart enough to know that!  Can you really pat yourself on the back in front of the heartbroken Moms and Dads whose children may not make it through the night alive?  Do you have absolutely NO compassion, empathy, OR integrity?

Dr. Sharfstein:  Why would you ask "people to call 211" when those that call ARE NOT linked in to the treatment they need.  Random tests have been done by informed callers who have found that 211 operators DO NOT provide relevant or useful referrals.  Not only does this NOT "help people who are addicted to drugs", it wastes their valuable time and energy when they are in crisis.  It is a deplorable abomination that you would care so little and value human lives so little that you would waste state tax payer's dollars to devise a program that provided misinformation to people who are in crisis.  How can you boast about a program that DOES NOT WORK?!

Dr. Sharfstein:  Why would you be so bold as to pat yourself on the back for spending grant money that should have gone to train parents and family members --FIRST RESPONDERS, and instead went to train police and EMTs --emergency personnel who are called to the scene by those who are trying to keep the overdose victim alive until they get there.  Family members have had to get trained, find locations to hold trainings, and promote the trainings themselves in order to get life-saving Naloxone into the hands of other family members.

To blatantly mislead and misinform the public in the way you have done here is beyond cruel to the parents of kids who suffer with a very treatable mental health disorder --parents who have looked to DHMH for help and been ignored and rejected.

You add much salt to our wounds by stating publicly that you have helped us when you so clearly HAVE NOT!  

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