Dr. Leana Wen: Maryland Makes Progress in Treating Addiction as a Disease (Opinion) (Center Maryland)
Wednesday Apr 12th, 2017
The opioid epidemic has ravaged families and communities across Maryland, claiming thousands of lives every year. In 2015, there were 1259 drug- and alcohol-related intoxication deaths. That number rose to 1,468 deaths on only the first nine months of 2016, according to the most recently available data.
Addiction and overdose are undoubtedly health issues, but for years, our efforts to curb drug use focused solely on the criminal justice side of the equation. As the heartbreaking numbers indicate, that alone is not enough. We must do more to save lives, improve access to on-demand treatment, and eliminate stigma about the disease. Only then will we be able to fully address this health crisis.