In the United States it was reported in 2013 that nearly 9.3 percent of the population uses illicit drugs on a frequent basis. In Maryland, that number is 7 percent, making about 418,320 of its residents drug users. Combined with the fact that heroin is the number one drug treated by hospitals, it stands to reason that Maryland has a growing heroin problem that is turning into an epidemic.
Recognizing this, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) has announced the launch of a state initiative to curb heroin addiction. Utilizing $3 million in state grants, Hogan stated that the money will primarily be used for drug treatment programs, with some being relegated to increased drug busts. The numbers breakdown as follows:
- $2,070,397 towards nine jurisdictions to fund the Safe Streets program, which focuses on connecting Heroin drug offenders with proper treatment programs. Safe Streets also incorporates some law enforcement for security purposes.
- $931,371 for state police, primarily to be used in the hiring of drug coordinators who will collect and distribute data related to drug investigations. This is most likely being done to create better coordinated plans when it comes to drug busts.
Compared to most Republicans, Hogan is being surprisingly smart about this. While the plan is theoretical, and could very well end up being corrupted into a massive drug raid targeting rural counties, we should always give these things the benefit of the doubt until new information comes along.