According to the Maryland state government, many heroin users in the state are people who became addicted to prescription narcotics following an injury or surgery, then begin to use cheaper illicit heroin when they can no longer obtain prescriptions for legal opioids. (Courtesy of the Maryland state government)

More than half of Marylanders say they personally know someone addicted by opioids and an overwhelming majority view this as a major problem, according to a Goucher Poll released Wednesday.

About 81 percent of those surveyed in the poll believe people need medical treatment to address the problem.

The poll surveyed 800 Marylanders between Feb. 12-17 on a problem that made Gov. Larry Hogan declare a state of emergency last year. Opioids include drugs such as heroin and prescribed painkillers such as oxycodone and morphine.

Democratic candidates running for Hogan’s seat criticized the governor for not attacking the problem sooner and spending more money on treatment.

“It’s not at all surprising that there is widespread agreement concerning the gravity of the opioid epidemic among Marylanders from all corners of the state,” Mileah Kromer, director the of Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, said in an accompanying statement.

Along racial lines, the poll shows about 58 percent of whites know someone affected, compared to 45 percent of Blacks.

Roughly 71 of respondents said the state doesn’t spend enough on education, while about 19 percent said the amount is adequate and 8 percent said too much is spent.

Also, 66 percent approve raising the minimum wage to $15 per an hour with 31 percent in opposition to the move.

The poll results, which can be viewed at www.goucher.edu, showed 47 percent that believe Maryland would be governed better if more women were elected to state office. The same percentage of residents say it wouldn’t make a difference.

The Maryland Women’s Caucus released a report Friday that details alleged sexual harassment by male colleagues against women in Annapolis. The report, distributed at the first session of the Workforce Harassment Commission created by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. and House Speaker Michael Busch, seeks to address misconduct in the state capitol.

The 38-page report offers anonymous accounts of when women felt and have been violated, but doesn’t state exactly when they occurred. One woman, according to the report, compared the state capitol to “a fraternity house.”

Even with that document and news reports of officials abusing power and taking bribes, 42 percent approve of the job lawmakers are doing. About 34 percent disagree and 24 percent were unsure.

Respondents were also polled about term limits, which Hogan floated this year. However, many lawmakers such as Delegate Carolyn J. B. Howard (D-District 24) of Mitchellville have said voters decide whether or not a person can remain in office for a certain period of time, not the legislature.

But 75 percent of respondents in the poll agree with Hogan on term limits for the legislature. In terms of how long, about 56 percent lawmakers should receive two terms that last eight years total. Another 20 percent said three terms, or 12 years, and another 19 percent checked only one term, or four years.

On Monday, the college released a poll that showed Hogan’s approval rating at 61 percent, a nearly identical figure from a poll Goucher released in September.

About 46 percent view Hogan as a moderate, 29 percent conservative and 17 percent don’t know.

However, there’s somewhat of a split whether voters will choose Hogan for a second term.
Forty-seven percent said they will or are leaning toward voting to re-elect Hogan, while 43 percent said they will possibly vote for a different candidate.

Eight Democrats are running the June 26 primary: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III; former NAACP President Ben Jealous; Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz; state Sen. Richard Madaleno of Montgomery County; tech entrepreneur Alec Ross; Baltimore attorney Jim Shea; Krish Vignarajah, former policy director for first lady Michelle Obama; and perennial candidate and educator Ralph Jaffe of Baltimore County.

After Danielle Carter of Mt. Rainier read news reports how Baker senior adviser Calvin Hawkins was charged for sexual assault and harassment in 2008 and the case cost the county nearly $150,000, she said will not for Baker, whose term as head of Prince George’s County expires this year after serving since December 2010.

“If Rushern Baker ends up being the Democratic nominee, I will vote for Larry Hogan,” Carter said Tuesday. “To have Rushern Baker not know about [Hawkins’ legal troubles] beforehand, I don’t believe it.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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