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From the Desk of
County Executive Jan Gardner

(9/2017) I’m excited to celebrate and congratulate the Thurmont Little League on a fabulous season! We watched with pride as these young men earned the state title and advanced to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament finals. The team clearly understands the importance of hard work and determination. These young men made us proud and did a wonderful job representing Thurmont and Frederick County. I am confident they will go far in life!

And the great news keeps coming! Frederick County leads the way in job growth. We are expected to add new jobs at the fastest rate in Maryland, at 9.2% by 2024, according to recent projections from the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. My goal is to make sure that people who live here can also work here and fully enjoy our high quality of life. Frederick County has built a strong economy that will carry us into the future.

IT and technology fields are expected to see significant growth locally, and we are poised to take advantage of this opportunity. Root, a county-owned business and innovation center in downtown Frederick, is being renovated to add a business incubator focused on IT start-ups and tech businesses.

Look at how our economy has grown in just two short years:

• Frederick County added more than 4,000 jobs across nine different industry sectors.

• For the first time ever, the number of jobs in the county topped 100,000.

• Our unemployment rate remains below 4%, lower than both the state and national rates.

• Our commercial vacancy rate is at a five-year low.

• Investment in commercial & industrial projects so far this year stands at nearly $143 million -- more than double the investment during the same period in 2014.

Clearly, Frederick County is a great place to do business.

Heroin & Opioid Crisis

Every day on average, someone in our community overdoses from heroin or a related opioid. Every week, another life is lost. So far in 2017, more than 200 overdoses have been reported in Frederick County. Sadly, over 30 people have died. These people are our neighbors, children, co-workers, and friends. Heroin is not simply an urban problem, a suburban problem, or a rural problem. There are no boundaries.

If someone you know is struggling with an addiction to heroin or opioid pain medication, you need to know that there is help and there is hope. A great first step is to call 2-1-1 for information, resources and help.

Members of the Heroin Consortium that I established in 2015 are working diligently on the battle against heroin and opioids. I want to share some new information about what county government and our partners are doing.

• Good Samaritan Law. We know that people are often afraid to seek help for someone who is overdosing because they think they can get into trouble with law enforcement or be arrested, particularly if drugs or drug paraphernalia are present. In a recent case, a woman died in a parking lot where she was dropped off because her friends were afraid to take her into the hospital emergency room for help. Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law protects people who seek help when drugs or alcohol create life-threatening emergencies. Victims and those who help or seek help on their behalf also cannot be arrested or charged for possessing or using drugs or drug paraphernalia, or for providing alcohol to minors. Calling 9-1-1 will not affect a person’s parole or probation status. The goal is to save lives and get people the help they need. If you witness the medical emergency but do not help, the law will not protect you. You can learn more about the Good Samaritan Law at

• In our schools. The Frederick County Health Department and Frederick County Public Schools are working together to keep our students and staff safe. When classes begin after Labor Day, the overdose reversal drug known as Narcan or Naloxone will be available in all of our schools. Incoming freshmen will be provided with heroin and opioid awareness information at their high school orientation. When there are specific concerns, the school system can refer students to a substance abuse disorder assessment conducted by the Health Department at no cost to the family. It is important to reach our youth as soon as possible. Early intervention is key.

• Outreach. Frederick County will benefit from a federal grant through AmeriCorps that will be used to expand education and preventions programs across Western Maryland. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen announced the grant this summer. This grant will allow us to increase our Peer Recovery program. Through Peer Recovery, people who have experienced addiction are trained to connect others to services and to support individuals struggling to stay on the path of recovery. While many peer recovery coaches are volunteers, paid peer recovery coaches are embedded in the hospital’s Emergency Department, the Adult Detention Center, and at Parole & Probation to work with people in crisis. The Frederick County Health Department has lead the way in the state with peer recovery coaches. In the first year, over 75% of the people touched connected with needed services.

It will take all of us, working together as a community, to successfully fight this epidemic. Law enforcement, government agencies, Drug Court, the hospital and many non-profit human service agencies are on the job and up to the task. We need you to join in the fight. Talk to your children and grandchildren, talk to your co-workers, volunteer as a peer recovery coach, or train on the use of Narcan. Watch stories of real life experience and successful recover at These are powerful stories to share with your family. If you need information about substance abuse, you can find it at or call 2-1-1 if you need help.

Frederick County is a great place to live because of the people who call it home. We have great schools, a safe community, and a high quality of life. Contact me if you have a question or need some information at 301-600-3190 or

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