Stop The Stigma

Stop The Stigma (Courtesy photo)

Baltimore— More than 43,000 Marylanders sought crisis intervention for substance use and mental health through 211 Maryland in 2020.

The nonprofit organization is responding to this need by partnering with Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI Maryland), an organization committed to ending the opioid crisis in Maryland, to reignite the statewide “Stop the Stigma” campaign to support those with opioid addiction while raising awareness of the National Prescription Drug ‘Take Back Day’ on April 24, 2021 in Maryland.

Marylanders can opt-in to receive opioid-related text messaging support by texting MDHope to 898-211, and to request a free medication disposal bag.

“As the central connector to health and human services statewide, we saw a spike in opioid-related calls for help last year and preliminary data for 2021 suggests even more people will be in crisis this year,” said Quinton Askew, president and CEO, 211 Maryland, Inc.

“Now is the time to reach people by what they use most— their telephones. Our proactive text messaging support gives those suffering from opioid and other drug addiction a crisis specialist in their pocket. We are proud to partner with RALI Maryland to further extend awareness of all of the ways people can access opioid-related resources.”

Through the education campaign, RALI Maryland is offering free prescription medication disposal bags to promote safe disposal of drugs. To request a free disposal bag, opt-in to the MDHope texting program (text MDHope to 898-211), select 1 for education and prevention, and 3 for disposing Rx safely. Messaging and data rates may apply.

“One of the easiest ways to play a positive role in our state’s opioid crisis is to dispose of any expired or unneeded prescription medications in a responsible way, so they don’t end up in the hands of someone who could misuse them or harm themselves,” said Blair Eig, M.D., president and CEO, Maryland Patient Safety Center, a RALI Partner.

“RALI and 211 Maryland provide resources and education for all aspects of opioid misuse, including overdose prevention, signs of overdose, treatment options, safe disposal and— with the MDHope texting platform— Marylanders in need receive bi-weekly support and positive affirmations to remind them that there are people who care.”

Information is offered to anyone in Maryland with concerns about opioid use including family, friends, professionals and service providers. The MDHope text messages include:

*Information about overdose reversal medication

*Overdose prevention tips

*General information on opioid use

*Treatment options

*Signs of overdose

*Safe disposal of prescription drugs

*Bi-weekly support and affirmations

To learn more about 211 Maryland and MDHope, visit: www.211md.org/stop-the-stigma. For information about RALI Maryland, visit: www.RALImd.org.