Monday, April 2, 2018

ACTION ALERT: One More Call!

The Maryland General Assembly ends in one more week --on April 9th.  Please call your legislators and ask them to VOTE IMPORTANT BILLS OUT OF COMMITTEE!  Most SUD bills are in limbo with the Committees reluctant to vote on them one way or another.  If there is no vote --they "die in Committee".  Nothing is moving.

If you care about any of the following bills, NOW is the time to call COMMITTEE MEMBERS (links below) and ask for A VOTE ON BILL #...  Call every day, all week long, and send an email.  Pass this along to your friends, colleagues, neighbors, and strangers on the street corners and ask them to call as well. 
Here is a list of some really good bills STUCK in Committee:

STUCK in House Government Operations Committee (HGO):
For HGO Committee member contacts go to:

1)      HB326: Safe and Supervised Consumption Site Pilot Program: Provides a safe place for users to bring drugs.  This is NOT enabling.  This is a place where these individuals (someone’s child) can get medical assistance (in case of O.D.), access to treatment, or at least use a phone to call their family, etc.  80+ such sites around the world have a zero overdose rate, and a high rate of getting these folks into treatment. 

2)      HB1207: Ibogaine Treatment Study Program: Provides funding for Maryland to study the efficacy of Ibogaine to treat opiate dependence.  It is currently used to treat opiate addiction in other countries, including Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa, and many European countries, and has a success rate of between 40% - 57%.  The entrenched Pharma / medical lobby opposes this solution because it is natural, and would compete with pharmaceutical solutions.  Currently, many families send their loved ones to Mexico and Canada to access treatment. 

STUCK in House Appropriations Committee:
For Appropriations Committee member contacts go to:

3)      HB1577: Funding for Family Navigation Services: Allocates $1,665,915 to the state annual budget for family ‘navigators’ to assist parents of children (including young adults) with behavioral health needs (including addiction).  Navigators assist parents / caregivers in 1) understanding and addressing their child’s behavioral health needs; 2) identifying community resources; and 3) obtaining needed services.  Many organizations in our grassroots community-based network already provide these services without any reimbursement. 

STUCK in Senate Finance Committee:
For Finance Committee member contacts go to:

4)      SB975: Task Force to Study the Impact of Drug Addiction on our State: Creates a Task Force to study the impact of addiction in Maryland: the number of emergency room visits and deaths related to drug addiction; economic and health care costs related to drug addiction; the number of families negatively impacted by drug addiction; the portion of the unemployment rate attributable to the unemployment of individuals with criminal records involving drug–related crimes; recidivism rates related to drug addiction; physical and mental health issues caused by drug addiction; homelessness due to drug addiction; deep–seated physiological problems due to drug addiction; the lack of health insurance coverage for addiction treatment; the exacerbation and remission status of chronic diseases similar to drug addiction such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease;  ways to promote early detection of diseases, such as hepatitis C, related to drug addiction; and the number of an individual’s failed treatment attempts.  The Task Force will then make recommendations.   This costs no money. Our state seems reluctant to act to address the ADDICTION EPIDEMIC.  The information gathered in this Task Force will prove just how costly INACTION can be. 

5)      SB702: Requires Insurance Companies to Pay for Assessments for Opioid Use Disorder: Currently, many people seeking treatment for a chronic opioid dependence must first be ‘assessed’ in order to receive treatment.  Depending on their insurance, many are paying hundreds of dollars for this assessment out-of-pocket.  Pain management doctors encounter problems when referring patients for an assessment because the insurance provider may not pay for them.  Or insurance companies are taking their sweet time in making pre-authorizations for these assessments.  This bill ensures that insurance companies fast-track and approve these authorizations. 

STUCK in the Senate:
For Senate Committee member contacts go to:

6)      HB922: Establishes Provisions for a ‘Pill Mill’ Tip-Line, and Procedures for Investigating Overdose Death: This bill mandates the state to devise a means for citizens to anonymously report “pill mills” and doctors “prescribing for profit” to authorities for investigation. 


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