Dr. David R. Fowler, the state's chief medical examiner, said that routinely testing for buprenorphine through blood tests would be too expensive, costing upward of $1 million a year. Start-up costs alone could be $500,000, he said. Instead, Fowler said he would prefer less expensive urine screens to detect its presence before ordering blood tests.
A committee that governs the medical examiner's office is expected to review the issue, Colmers said.
The city has spent more than $1 million on its 15-month-old buprenorphine program and wants an additional $5 million from the state. The state has spent about $5 million to support Baltimore, start programs elsewhere in Maryland and cover the Medicaid costs of Suboxone. And it is set to spend another $1.6 million, Luongo said.