Baltimore County has the second highest rate of fatal opioid overdoses in the state. Only Baltimore City has more. The county will begin reaching out to people, especially those who have personally been affected by opioids, to ask them what should be done.
County Executive Johnny Olszewski said there is a new online survey available.
“We want to hear from them about how the county’s doing in its efforts to address this crisis and where we can and need to do more,” Olszewski said.
At a news conference Thursday at the Historic Courthouse in Towson, Olszewski said there also will be two public hearings this summer on the opioid epidemic, on June 18 and July 10. Times and locations for those hearings are still up in the air.
Olszewski also named a task force to drive the public outreach with a goal of having a final report of recommendations by September.
Last year, 348 people died in Baltimore County from opioid-related overdoses, up from 323 the year before.
Toni Torsch, who lives in Perry Hall and lost a son to opioid addiction, said in the past Baltimore County has not done nearly enough. Torsch said she is encouraged by the Olszewski administration.
“It really does look like it’s all hands on deck for them,” Torsch said.
When asked about whether Baltimore County in the past has been slow to react to the opioid crisis Olszewski said, "I think what we're focused on is what we're doing in the future."
Olszewski also has in his proposed budget the position of an opioid czar to coordinate the county’s attack on the opioid crisis.