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A law creating an Overdose Response Program (ORP) was enacted in Maryland in 2013 to provide training and certification to individuals—e.g. family members, friends and associates—most likely able to help someone at risk of dying from an opioid-related overdose. Those successfully completing the training will receive a certificate allowing them to obtain and have filled a prescription for naloxone, a life-saving medication that can quickly restore breathing of a person who has overdosed on heroin or prescription opioid pain medication. DHMH will authorize public or private entities such as local health departments, community organizations, substance use disorder treatment programs and other health care providers to conduct educational training programs using a core curriculum developed by the Department. Trainees will learn the how to: recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose, perform rescue breathing, properly administer naloxone and care for the individual until emergency medical help arrives.
In collaboration with the State Overdose Advisory Council, DHMH drafted proposed regulations to implement the ORP, which were published in the Maryland Register for public comment on December 27, 2013. Among other things, the regulations set forth how a private or public entity may apply to DHMH for authorization to conduct an educational training program and issue certificates. Requirements pertaining to ORP trainers and supervisors, educational training program content and certificate issuance and renewal are also specified. The regulations outline the rights and responsibilities of certificate holders and authorized entities, and cover record maintenance and reporting requirements applicable to authorized entities and to DHMH in overseeing this critical public health initiative.
On February 11, 2014, the Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene adopted the proposed regulations with minor, nonsubstantive revisions. The notice of final action is published in the February 21, 2014, Maryland Register, at pp. 301-302 (http://www.dsd.state.md.us/MDRegister/4104.pdf). The effective date of the final regulations is March 3, 2014.