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1 US MD: The Opioid Crisis Spills Into The WorkplaceMon, 25 Sep 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Saraiva, Catarina Area:Maryland Lines:151 Added:09/27/2017

At Philip Tulkoff's food-processing plant in Baltimore, machines grind tough horseradish roots into puree. "If you put your arm in the wrong place," the owner says, "and you're not paying attention, it's going to pull you in." It's not a good place to be intoxicated.

Drug abuse in the workforce is a growing challenge for American business. While economists have paid more attention to the opioid epidemic's role in keeping people out of work, about two-thirds of those who report misusing pain-relievers are on the payroll. In the factory or office, such employees can be a drag on productivity, one of the U.S. economy's sore spots. In the worst case, they can endanger themselves and their colleagues.

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2 US MD: Baltimore City Council Weighs Concerns About CannabisWed, 30 Aug 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Wood, Pamela Area:Maryland Lines:92 Added:08/30/2017

Hampden and Wyman Park residents took their concerns about a proposed medical cannabis dispensary to City Hall on Wednesday, as Baltimore City Council members weigh whether to put zoning restrictions on the businesses.

In Baltimore -- as well as other jurisdictions -- some residents have been surprised to learn about proposals for the dispensaries. Just one dispensary in the state has earned a final state license, but dozens more across the state have preliminary licenses they hope to finalize in the coming months.

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3 US MD: Maryland Regulators Approve Eight New Medical MarijuanaMon, 14 Aug 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Cox, Erin Area:Maryland Lines:115 Added:08/14/2017

Maryland's medical marijuana regulators approved final licenses for eight growing companies on Monday, allowing them to start cultivating the drug.

Several companies said they are ready to begin growing immediately, while others say they will take weeks to get started.

"Now, we have a real industry," said Cary Millstein, CEO of newly licensed grower Freestate Wellness in Howard County.

Until Monday, just one of the 15 selected firms had received final permission to start cultivating medical marijuana, which was first legalized in the state in 2013. Even at full capacity, one firm could not produce nearly enough to support 102 planned dispensaries.

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4 US MD: Body Camera Footage Shows Officer Planting Drugs, PublicThu, 20 Jul 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Fenton, Justin Area:Maryland Lines:207 Added:07/20/2017

Police and prosecutors in Baltimore have launched investigations after being alerted to body camera footage that the public defender's office says shows an officer planting drugs.

One officer has been suspended and two others have been placed on administrative duty, police said. Police said they have not reached any conclusions as to the conduct depicted in the video. Other cases in which the officers are involved are now under review as well, police and prosecutors said.

The public defender's office, which released the footage, said it was recorded by an officer during a drug arrest in January. It shows the officer placing a soup can, which holds a plastic bag, into a trash-strewn lot.

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5 US MD: With Opioid Antidote Now Required In All Schools, MoreSat, 15 Jul 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Chappell, Emily Area:Maryland Lines:81 Added:07/19/2017

After a year of having an opioid antidote in middle and high schools in Carroll County, a new state law requires that the medicine be available at the elementary school level, too.

The Start Talking Maryland Act, which lays out now-required opioid education at least once at all schooling levels, also requires all schools to carry naloxone, the opioid overdose antidote.

Filipa Gomes, supervisor of Health Services for Carroll County Public Schools, said in addition to the extra naloxone, Carroll County Public Schools staff are training more people how to administer the antidote.

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6 US MD: On Drug Treatment In BaltimoreMon, 10 Jul 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Duncan, Ian Area:Maryland Lines:156 Added:07/14/2017

When talking about fighting drug addiction, Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh likes to pose a question: "If you had a child who was on drugs, would you treat them in the neighborhood in which they were drug addicted?"

Then she answers, as she did at a news conference last week: "I would think that your answer would be 'no,' you'd put them on a plane to Timbuktu or somewhere."

Pugh has publicly used the formulation twice in recent weeks as she calls for the city to rethink how it works to treat the estimated 7,000 of its 24,000 opioid users who are not currently getting help. She says she agrees with the growing consensus that addiction should be viewed as a health problem rather than a criminal one. But she argues treatment needs to be shifted away from neighborhoods -- where, she says, patients have a worse chance of getting better, and where clinics become magnets for drug dealers.

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7 US MD: Hogan Names 10 To Medical Marijuana Commission, Replacing 6Thu, 06 Jul 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Broadwater, Luke Area:Maryland Lines:69 Added:07/06/2017

Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday made 10 appointments to the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission, filling vacant positions and replacing six commissioners whose terms had expired.

The commission is charged with implementing Maryland's medical cannabis program. The appointments include doctors, business people and several members of law enforcement.

The appointments are:

* Charles P. LoDico, a chemist and toxicologist for the Department of Health and Human Services. His appointment fills a vacancy for a scientist with experience in cannabis.

* Barry G. Pope, a clinical pharmacist for Conduent State Healthcare LLC. He has been a registered pharmacist for 20 years. Pope was recommended for this appointment by the Maryland Pharmacists Association, and fills a vacancy for a licensed pharmacist on the commission.

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8 US MD: Oped: As A Physician, I Am Contributing To The Opioid EpidemicSun, 02 Jul 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Myles, David Area:Maryland Lines:84 Added:07/05/2017

Even for seasoned health care workers, it can be unnerving to hear "emergency in the parking lot" over the loudspeaker. There, we found an 18-year-old man lying lifeless on the asphalt and not breathing. Before I could utter the words, an astute nurse immediately ordered that the patient be given Naloxone as she correctly recognized that this patient was suffering from an opioid overdose. Soon, the patient began to breathe spontaneously, effectively coming back to life.

This story could be used to celebrate the marvels of medicine and the skill of our health care workforce. However, this story does not have a happy ending.

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9 US MD: Maryland's Heroin Fight Turns To Educating Students FromMon, 19 Jun 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Wood, Pamela Area:Maryland Lines:181 Added:06/19/2017

In the ongoing battle to stem the heroin and opiate epidemic in Maryland, the newest focus is a state law that mandates teaching students in elementary schools through college about the dangers of the drugs.

Public schools are tweaking drug-education lessons and colleges are preparing sessions for incoming students to comply with the Start Talking Maryland Act, which becomes law July 1.

The act, passed by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. Larry Hogan earlier this year, requires public schools to offer drug-education that includes the dangers of heroin and opiates starting in elementary school.

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10 US MD: How Much Marijuana Is Too Much For A Police Recruit?Wed, 26 Apr 2017
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Calvert, Scott Area:Maryland Lines:112 Added:05/01/2017

BALTIMORE - As more states relax their approach to marijuana, police departments are rethinking how many hits are too many for aspiring officers.

Maryland just passed a new standard, set to take effect in the state June 1, that bars applicants if they smoked pot in the past three years, the same policy used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The longstanding, previous policy had ruled out those who had used marijuana at least 20 times or at least five times since age 21.

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11 US MD: Opioid Users Filling Maryland Hospital Beds And EmergencyThu, 26 Jan 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Moore, John Area:Maryland Lines:157 Added:01/26/2017

Family members of those who died of opioid overdoses embrace at the "Fed Up!" rally to end the opioid epidemic on September 18, 2016 in Washington, DC. Some 30,000 people die each year due to addiction to heroin and other opioids.

Family members of those who died of opioid overdoses embrace at the "Fed Up!" rally to end the opioid epidemic on September 18, 2016 in Washington, DC. Some 30,000 people die each year due to addiction to heroin and other opioids. (John Moore)

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12 US MD: Hogan, Rutherford Announce Heroin Initiatives For 2017Tue, 24 Jan 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD)          Area:Maryland Lines:83 Added:01/26/2017

Governor Hogan announces heroin crisis initiatives

Governor Larry Hogan announces a number of new initiatives to combat the statewide heroin crisis at a press conference at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. (Joshua McKerrow / Capital Gazette)

Governor Larry Hogan announces a number of new initiatives to combat the statewide heroin crisis at a press conference at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. (Joshua McKerrow / Capital Gazette)

Gov. Larry Hogan and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford came to Anne Arundel Medical Center Tuesday to announce new initiatives aimed at combating a rising tide of heroin abuse across the state.

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13 US MD: Maryland General Assembly Ethics Committee Hires SpecialFri, 20 Jan 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD)          Area:Maryland Lines:140 Added:01/21/2017

Del. Dan K. Morhaim, a Baltimore County Democrat, speaks to reporters on the last day of the Maryland General Assembly's 2016 session. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)

Special counsel hired for ethics investigation into Baltimore County Del. Morhaim's cannabis work.

The General Assembly ethics committee that's investigating Del. Dan K. Morhaim's work with a medical cannabis company has hired a special counsel to assist with the review.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, who on Friday disclosed the hiring of the special counsel, said the action underscores the serious nature of the investigation.

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14 US MD: Bid To Alter Drug Laws And Allow Some Early Prison ReleasesWed, 18 Jan 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD)          Area:Maryland Lines:116 Added:01/18/2017

[photo] A cell at El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in Oklahoma. President Obama toured the prison last week. (Saul Loeb / AFP-Getty Images)

A bipartisan push to reduce the number of low-level drug offenders in prison is gaining momentum in Congress, but proposals may disappoint advocates hoping to slash the mandatory minimum sentences that are seen as chiefly responsible for overcrowding in the nation's detention facilities.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) surprised advocates Thursday by saying he strongly supported holding a vote on a prison reform bill similar to one sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a moderate Republican from Wisconsin. The measure has been languishing in the House Judiciary Committee.

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15 US MD: U.S. Government Won't Reclassify Marijuana, Allows ResearchFri, 13 Jan 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Tribune, Area:Maryland Lines:127 Added:01/14/2017

[photo] Marijuana plants are seen nearly ready for harvest at the Ataraxia medical marijuana cultivation center in Albion, Ill., on Sept. 15, 2015. (Seth Perlman, AP)

The Obama administration has decided marijuana will remain on the list of most-dangerous drugs, fully rebuffing growing support across the country for broad legalization, but said it will allow more research into its medical uses.

The decision to expand research into marijuana's medical potential could pave the way for the drug to be moved to a lesser category. Heroin, peyote and marijuana, among others, are considered Schedule I drugs because they have no medical application; cocaine and opiates, for example, have medical uses and, while still illegal for recreational use, are designated Schedule II drugs.

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16 US MD: Experts Have Only A Hazy Idea Of Marijuana's Myriad HealthFri, 13 Jan 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Healy, Melissa Area:Maryland Lines:166 Added:01/13/2017

Marijuana's health effects

A new report says the precise health effects of marijuana on its users remain something of a mystery. (Jan. 13, 2017)

More than 22 million Americans use some form of marijuana each month, and it's now approved for medicinal or recreational use in 28 states plus the District of Columbia. Nationwide, legal sales of the drug reached an estimated $7.1 billion last year.

Yet for all its ubiquity, a comprehensive new report says the precise health effects of marijuana on those who use it remain something of a mystery -- and the federal government continues to erect major barriers to research that would provide much-needed answers.

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17 US MD: Lawmaker Scrutinized Over Medical Marijuana Ties Removed FromMon, 09 Jan 2017
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Nirappil, Fenit Area:Maryland Lines:44 Added:01/13/2017

A Maryland state lawmaker who came under scrutiny for his ties to a medical marijuana business while working on legislation shaping the industry has been removed from the health committee that oversees such bills.

Del. Dan Morhaim (D-Baltimore County), a physician, will serve on the judiciary committee in the 90-day legislative session starting Wednesday, following 13 years on the Health and Government Operations Committee.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) announced the change Monday when he released committee assignments.

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18 US MD: OPED: Opioid Abuse Cause For Pause Among PhysiciansWed, 11 Jan 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Setty, Amar Area:Maryland Lines:106 Added:01/11/2017

Op-ed: Physician anesthesiologists can help fight opioid abuse.

The opioid dilemma puts pressure on every physician to pause and reflect. Physician anesthesiologists are dedicated to providing pain relief in the safest manner possible, which includes prescribing and managing opioid therapy when medical conditions warrant. What we face now is too many tragic instances of patients emerging from pain treatment regimens only to see their lives destroyed later through addiction.

Opioids include illegal heroin and prescription "pain killers" such as oxycodone, and the impact of these drugs is clear in Maryland and elsewhere. The numbers of opioid-related deaths statewide increased 23 percent between 2014 and 2015, and have more than doubled since 2010, according to the latest Maryland health department report released this fall.

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19 US MD: Entrepreneurs Announce Plans To Apply To Open A MedicalTue, 10 Jan 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Mirabella, Lorraine Area:Maryland Lines:99 Added:01/10/2017

[photo] SAFED, ISRAEL -- A worker at a cannabis greenhouse at the growing facility of the Tikun Olam company near the northern city of Safed, Israel. (Uriel Sinai / Baltimore Sun)

Two Silver Spring-based entrepreneurs said Monday they hope to open a medical marijuana growing and processing plant in Baltimore.

Healthy Choice Alternative LLC is in the process of applying for one of up to 15 cultivation licenses as well as a processors license from the state under Maryland's medical marijuana program, an attorney for the company said.

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20 US MD: A Federal Prosecutor Takes On The Heroin Scourge That ClaimedSun, 08 Jan 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD)          Area:Maryland Lines:128 Added:01/09/2017

[photo] Bruce Brandler is chief federal law enforcement officer for a sprawling judicial district that covers half of Pennsylvania. (Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

The phone at Bruce Brandler's home rang at 3:37 a.m. It was the local hospital. His 16-year-old son was there, and he was in really bad shape.

A suspected heroin overdose, the nurse said.

Brandler didn't believe it. Erik had his problems, but heroin? It seemed impossible.

Nearly 10 years later, the nation is gripped by a spiraling crisis of opioid and heroin abuse -- and Brandler, a veteran federal prosecutor recently promoted to interim U.S. attorney, suddenly finds himself in a position to do something about the scourge that claimed his youngest son's life.

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