Maryland Legislator to Introduce Four Groundbreaking Harm Reduction Drug Policy Bills!!

Submission Date: February 02, 2016
Source: Drug Policy Alliance (

Maryland Legislator to Introduce Groundbreaking Harm Reduction Drug Policy Bills to Reduce: Addiction, Deadly Overdose, Spread of Infectious Disease, and Incarceration Rates for Drug-Related Offenses . Proposed Bills Would Provide Treatment-at-Need in ER’s and Hospitals, Decriminalize Small Amounts of All Drugs, Set Up Safe Consumption Programs, and More.

Maryland, 02/02/2016–  As deaths from drug overdoses increase nationwide, Maryland Delegate Dan Morhaim, M.D. – also a practicing physician who has been treating patients in emergency and internal medicine for more than 30 years – will introduce four bills to transform drug policy in the state.  This groundbreaking legislative package aims to reduce the harms associated with substance abuse disorders, including rates of addiction, deadly overdose, the spread of infectious disease, crime, costs to the general public, and incarceration rates.  (See detailed descriptions of all 4 bills below.)

More Americans now die annually from overdose than gunshot wounds or car crashes. Nearly 47,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2014.In Maryland, the Governor’s office has defined the problem as an “epidemic…destroying lives”. There has been a 60% rise in fatal drug and alcohol-related overdoses, and heroin deaths have increased by 186%, from 2010 to 2015 in the state.

WHAT: Press Conference with Delegate Morhaim, Law Enforcement Officials, Health Experts and More
WHEN: Friday, February 5, 2016, 12:00 p.m
WHERE: House Office Building, Room 180, 6 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD, 21401  (Please arrive by 11:30 a.m. to allow   plenty of time for parking, walking to the House of Delegates, and getting through security.  Click here for more information on parking.)
WHODelegate Dan Morhaim has been a member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 1994, where he serves as Deputy Majority Leader. He is a board-certified physician with over 30 years front-line clinical experience treating patients in emergency and internal medicine, and he is on the faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and at the University of Maryland Medical School. He is the author of numerous articles, both medical and non-medical.

Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1994 before being elected to the Maryland Senate in 2014.  She is a Registered Nurse with years of experience as a quality assurance coordinator, head nurse, and team leader at hospitals in the Baltimore metropolitan area.

Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.) is the Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an international nonprofit organization of law enforcement professionals and civilian supporters who want to end the War on Drugs. Major Franklin is a retired 33-year veteran of both the Maryland State Police and Baltimore Police forces.

Beth McGinty is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management and Co-Deputy Director for the Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Professor McGinty’s research focuses on social policies that affect mental health and substance use.

Christopher Welsh is a physician at the University of Maryland, specializing in addiction treatment and behavioral health. He is the Medical Director of the UMMC Substance Abuse Consultation Service, which is responsible for substance abuse assessment and intervention throughout the University of Maryland Medical Center.

“This crisis has been going for decades, but the marked rise in overdose deaths and the murder rate is finally forcing us to take definitive action. Maryland has the opportunity to serve as a model for the country in treating drug use for what it is-a public health issue,” says Delegate Morhaim.  “This legislation reflects the scientific, evidence-based research proving how to best help drug users, their families, and the community at large.”

“From moms to Presidential candidates, everyone is searching for solutions to the growing rates of drug addiction and overdose,” said Lindsay LaSalle, Staff Attorney for Drug Policy Alliance.  “Fortunately there are programs that are well-established and have been proven to work around the world.  Maryland now has the opportunity to be the first state to bring these common sense policies to the United States.”

Click the Link Below for an overview of the four drug policy bills that will be introduced:

arrow-read-more Click here to read the entire press release.