Addiction Treatment in Baltimore Maryland.
Baltimore Substance Abuse System (BSAS) was created by the Baltimore Health Department in 1990. Since that time they have become the substance abuse authority in the city. Since 1996, funding from the Abell Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Open Society Institute-Baltimore, and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation has allowed BSAS to invest additional funds in strategic planning, staff training, new staff positions for research and advocacy, and innovative clinical programs.
There are 38 drug and alcohol abuse centers which are supported by BSAS. All of these programs have been certified by the Maryland Department of Health. BSAS staff conducts monthly on-site monitoring. These visits include meetings with patients, staff and program directors and examination of patient records to assess the appropriateness of treatment planning and care.
The majority of those being helped by the programs are for Methadone Maintenance or outpatient drug free treatment. Residential treatment is still a problem in Baltimore, as it is in many parts of the United States. The residential slots in Maryland cost between $3500 and 22,500 a patient.
In addition to Baltimore’s health commissioner, the BSAS Board includes officials from the city council, the police, the departments of social services and housing and community development, the state’s attorney for Baltimore, and Baltimore Mental Health Systems, Inc. (the city’s mental health equivalent of BSAS). The state government is represented on the Board by the Lt. Governor and by the directors of the departments of human resources, health and mental hygiene, and public safety and correctional services.
The BSAS, in an effort to improve addiction treatment in Baltimore Maryland, established the Scientific Advisory Committee. 14 nationally recognized treatment researchers and practitioners tasked with identifying gaps in the city’s treatment system and suggesting strategies for improving services and for adopting state-of-the art practices being implemented elsewhere. No other city in the country has called upon such an expert group to examine its treatment efforts on an ongoing basis.
One bold move by the BSAS was promoting the Needle Exchange Program. Since the program began, thousands of people have participated. Not only that, but many of those have gone on to seek treatment through the BSAS. This effort to control addiction in Baltimore Maryland costs about $300,000 a year on BNEP (Baltimore Needle Exchange Program), and another $250,000 on drug treatment for participants.
Because of the wonderful response to the BNEP, more funding has been made available to evaluate the impact of a motivational interview designed to enhance treatment interest and participation by BNEP clients. Of those interviewed, 90% are interested in treatment. The high level of interest in treatment that the study has already found underscores the great potential of the needle exchange program as a bridge to treatment, and also highlights the need to expand treatment capacity so that slots are readily available when drug users say they want treatment. One of the most proactive approaches in drug addiction is that of the Baltimore Substance Abuse System whose goal is to reduce significantly drug addiction in Baltimore Maryland.