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ANNAPOLIS — A delegate from Frederick County is looking to curb the heroin epidemic with a proposal encouraging the prescription of painkillers that are more difficult to abuse.

Prescription drugs often act as a gateway to heroin abuse, so one way to address the problem is by dealing with the medication, said Delegate Karen Lewis Young.

“Our approach to heroin needs to be multifaceted. We need to have a number of solutions: education, prevention, cure. So this is one of many solutions,” said Lewis Young, D-District 3A.

Her proposal would require insurance carriers to provide coverage for painkillers that are not as easy to abuse. It would also forbid insurance companies from making the abuse-deterrent medication more costly to patients than the alternatives. The abuse-deterrent drugs are chemically designed to prevent chewing, crushing, curating, grating or grinding them, according to Lewis Young. Some are intended to create an unpleasant effect if people try to manipulate them.

In three recent studies of people who inject heroin, nearly half of the young people surveyed indicated that they used prescription medication before they switched to the street drug, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

People often turn to heroin because it is cheaper than prescription painkillers, Lewis Young said.

Lewis Young’s bill appeared Tuesday in a package of legislative priorities announced by Senate leaders. Sen. Catherine Pugh, D-Baltimore city, has sponsored the same proposal in her side of the Legislature.

“While politicians in Washington, D.C., are unable to find common ground on even the simplest of issues, we are moving together on issues that are important to all Marylanders,” Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said in a news release.

Another proposal included in the package would create an Opioid Use Disorder Consortium to develop strategies to combat the heroin epidemic.

The problem of opioid abuse has swept across the state, and Frederick County has been no exception. In 2013, the county saw 21 heroin-related deaths, the highest annual total since 2007, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The following year, there had been 22 heroin-related deaths in the county by the third week of October.

“I know it’s a problem throughout the country, throughout the state, but I know it’s a problem in my jurisdiction. So I was determined to get a good solution to help minimize the problem,” Lewis Young said.

The delegate has also spoke to a local man, Bob Kozloski, whose son died in 2012 of a prescription drug overdose. Kozloski has been working ever since to raise awareness and advocate for policies that will combat opioid overprescription and addiction.

While Lewis Young’s bill won’t win the battle on drug addiction, it will help, said Kozloski, of Frederick.

“I do think it’s a step forward in the right direct direction,” he said. “I don’t expect an overnight change, but I think the awareness of the Legislature is improving.”

Follow Bethany Rodgers on Twitter: @BethRodgersFNP.

(16) comments


Young is so misinformed and naive. Oxy addicts and abusers of other prescription pills that help them to get high get their pills from cash only clinics, like the ones you see advertising help for back and brain injuries and such. The drug seekers go to 3 or 4 different doctors a month and many then sell their pills along with a using them to offset the costs. When having to pay hundreds of dollars to get high gets too difficult, or when they get kicked out of too many clinics, addicts resort to heroin because it's cheaper and easier to get. Want to stop the cycle, stop allowing individuals to obtain hundreds of pills every month? Crack down on the doctors getting rich off their addictions, requiring cash for "treatment" instead of taking insurance because the doctors can charge more per visit. Create a database for prescription refills that don't allow individuals to obtain hundreds of pills every month. Her legislation is a joke that will not stop the back door operations.


Great comments, bikerjohn. Well-said!


We lose 2-3 veterans a day from suicide and not a single legislative body in America is scrambling for a solution like they are for heroin addicts.


However, the proposal doesn't prohibit help to veterans who are also heroin addicts.


The article headline......LEWIS YOUNG AIMS TO CURB HEROIN EPIDEMIC WITH PRESCRIPTION DRUG BILL. Well.................her AIM is way off. After her multiple attemps to become a career politician............she finally suceeded. And here is an early example of what we have to look forward to. Her debut is really disappointing.


All the comments today are all on point. There is probably more accurate and pertanent information being offered than Karen Young used to propose the good intentioned, but misinformed bill. As usual, most politicians are proposing bills and they are misinformed and their logic is flawed. The don't do their reseach. The bill is then bundled in other legislation to be voted on by their colleagues. Then the approved bill acts in a negative manner and determental to the issue or problem it is trying to address.

Someone needs to send her the the information in these comments. Put it in large print so her can read each thought. We can't afford any more poorly researched bills on the law books. Unfortunately, it is business as usual by our lawmakers.


Prescription drug usage and the various issues that fall under that are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. I'm not following where a state law based on this bill is going to override what is already in place. The underlying issue is that this bill seeks to regulate what is actually between physicians and their patients. It also makes a sweeping presumption that all people who legitimately take prescription painkillers are potential heroin seekers/users. That is preposterous.

What insurance carriers is this proposed bill supposed to include? Is it covering the insurance carriers who cover Maryland state employees only or what? Insurance carriers have contracts established with employers and individuals. In the Federal Government, the Office of Personnel Management establishes contracts that cover Federal employees. Where does this proposed bill come into those laws and practices?

I know that I'm not being very articulate here, but this proposed bill has not been properly thought out in the first place.




But it does have FACE and NAME recognition, except now Karen Young is being passed off as Lewis Young and to many who don't know her or her past track record is the Young dynasty now using middle names like LEWIS to keep most, but not all, off the scent of the YOUNG family and the local history they carry around from past dictatorships that didn't work out well for the familiy as a whole. Even Ron Young is getting face recognition from yet another bill that will not work, because it too is another photo-op on a bill destined for the Maryland State Legislature's trash heap of laws aready recorded and sufficient enough to protect our pet population from the human race. Is this what politics has, become in Frederick; repeat performamnces of laws already on the books but making them more COMPLICATED than they really need to be? If this is how face and name recognition is being USED and ABUSED, why not cash in our chips and tax payer money for something else with a better rate of return on our dollar than what the Young FAMILY brings to market?


Please Karen go deeper into your research about Heroin, this is start but does not go deep enough into stopping people from abusing Heroin. Read this article it's a long one and will break your heart several times. We are treating abusers all wrong in many different ways and on may different levels, Heroin use changes the brain chemistry, users just can't quit cold turkey and not use again. Read it and you will see why your bill does not go deep enough, it's a start but needs to go deeper. You will not even scratch the surface with bill.


Then also read this article about Suboxone, this what you need to be advocating for that insurance carriers pay for.





BUT, isn't that what our elected leaders do with their spare time; to fashion a bill based solely on "sound bite messaging", without the subcontext that might necessarily allow the public to decide whether they are just another cattle call or an informed citizen who knows to read the fine print BEFORE signing off on work that amounts to nothing more than reruns of the same political strategies that have been used over and over again and always winding up back at the same point the conversation started from? It's called a circle with most citizens not knowing the difference, because they just don't care enough to show up in the first place with an original thought or an intelligent/hard question. That's why we complain about governance for 4 year stretches of time and then pray at the alter of excuses when the next election rolls around and vote our conscience AGAIN by proxy. Isn't true, and if not, feel free to join the opposing thought to the contrary, WE are just buttons that get pushed by governance that lies to us by OMMISSION, on a daily basis. Who's got a delete button and capable of rebooting that thing we call a brain for once in your lifetime?

While we continue to regulate PAIN medication and heroin to diminished returns what is it we really know about chronic pain that we can't see or understand, since all we see is the animated addictions we are most afraid of, instead of understanding PAIN is not just a physiological nerve injury, but a mental incapacity driven by society and polite conversation that can't bring themselves to rub up against a mind in NEED of belonging but rejected repeatedly because they don't fit the mold we were cast from. It's the same social division we have with people of color, different cultures, gay people and those who are very different from what we call NORMAL, for fear of the pain we dish out to those most afflicted, but denying them RELIEF, because, to get too close might rub off on their own existence. Most people deal in black or white, as with this proposed bill, while ignoring all the gray matter we find from the neck up and here to there.


I believe this another case of politics in the wrong place. I don't believe this legislation will bring positive results. I don't consider this in the interest of the people and do consider this in this interest of big business.




Herion was an acceptable scourge until it infiltrated the extraburbs with regularity.


But isn't this sentiment as much cliched as the next fix our National population takes from one end of humanity, to the bulge of another bell curve, and ending up at the other end of our human thought? This "scourge", no matter what the substance is, or even how affordable it may be to the citizen populations of our Nation, our species, in today's time, are constantly looking for a way and means to retreat from the fast track we are no longer capable of managing. It's too hard or too complicated, so why not work up a buzz that allows us to sit in the back of room and pretend for a momennt or lifetime,that we no longer matter in the overall scheme of things.

Our technology may change in a nanosecond, but WE have NOT changed at all. We are the same, and dance to the same DNA that was CONSTRUCTED before recorded time; try 5000 years for starters. Heroin use is just the starting point, with factory made chemist leading us in the same direction of escape with a formulation that could kill, which the addicted might be looking for in the first place. Addictions are not new. We are even addicted to denial with our judgements being confined to what someone or something else directed us to follow. We are a cattle species and will remain so, as long as we can't cope with the nature of an original thought. Or, is that the same pain of OTHERS you are trying so hard to dance around for fear of being found out?

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