Our state has joined the national conversation around an opioid epidemic that has deadly implications to our communities and region. Maryland had 2, 089 fatal overdoes last year, a nearly 66 percent increase from the previous year. Governor Hogan has declared a state of emergency in Maryland and CCBC is ready to do its part. The peril is real.

Last spring, Maryland legislators enacted the Start Talking Maryland Act, requiring schools and colleges to educate students about the dangers of opioid addiction. At CCBC, we are addressing the tenets of this act and going beyond the legislative requirements to help combat a crisis that has taken far too many lives.

The CCBC Opioid Taskforce has been hard at work this semester, drafting college policy that includes educating incoming students about the dangers of heroin and other opioids. CCBC stocks the overdose-reversing medication naloxone, and has trained Public Safety officers and others to use it in emergency situations. And, as required by law, the college will report all incidents involving the use of naloxone to the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

But CCBC always goes beyond the law when it comes to ensuring the safety of faculty, staff and students. Faculty are reviewing and updating curriculum to ensure information regarding prevention and treatment of opioid addiction is reflected within appropriate academic programs. A special group of professionals known as Success Navigators stand ready to help students in need of resources to aid with drug addiction. Additionally, education addressing the opioid crisis is available through lectures, films and special events scheduled throughout the year.

No one can afford to sit idly by while the opioid epidemic claims more lives. We are educators at CCBC; as such we intend to do our part to inform, educate and contribute to ending this national crisis.