ANNAPOLIS, Md. - "We have to cut the pipeline." Those are the words Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford said Tuesday morning as he and Gov. Larry Hogan announced a plan to combat the opioid crisis. The effort will focus on treatment, enforcement and even a limit on how many painkillers doctors can prescribe.
The governor and other state officials said the opioid crisis across Maryland is getting worse. In fact, the county executive of Anne Arundel County said twice as many people are dying from overdoses compared to a couple of years ago.
When Gov. Hogan ran for office, he said the number one problem facing the community "was always the same. It was heroin."
Opioid addiction has destroyed many lives. Just eight days ago, Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Wes Adams buried his brother-in-law after he had relapsed and died from an overdose.
Officials now have a new plan to fight the crisis in Maryland with legislation and an executive order.
For prevention, there will be a limit for doctors prescribing pain medication - only seven days unless it is for people with cancer or in a hospice.
For enforcement, there will be a new felony for dealers who sell opioids that kill the buyer. That seller could face 30 years in jail.
For treatment, there will be more eligibility and money for addiction rehabilitation services.
"These are on all over the map from prevention and treatment to law enforcement and interdiction, and we have to attack it in every direction," said Hogan.
It is important to point out that this is not just a problem in Maryland. Virginia and D.C. are also being hit hard by the crisis. Just recently, leaders from all these jurisdictions came together to discuss a regional effort to fight back against this crisis.