Baltimore is known for its heroin affliction, but limiting thoughts of drugs to the state’s largest city would be missing the point about the current addiction epidemic. Statistics released Tuesday for 2014 indicate that the number of overdose deaths in Maryland rose by 20 percent over the last year. And it’s not just heroin that is claiming lives.
The report, released by the state Department of Health and Mental Hygeine, revealed the following increases in ODs in 2014:
- Overdose deaths are up 60 percent since 2010
- Pain killer (Fentantyl)-related overdose deaths tripled from 2013 to 2014.
- Heroin overdose deaths rose 25 percent from 2013 to 2014, and more than doubled over the last four years.
- Alcohol-related deaths are up nearly 70 percent over the last four years.
About 300 of the 1,039 overdose deaths in the state occurred in Baltimore City, the report states, amounting to the most in the state. The next two highest jurisdictions were Baltimore County with 170 deaths, Anne Arundel County with about 100. Baltimore City had by far the highest number of heroin deaths, with 192 of the 578 overdoses recorded.
With a heroin epidemic currently surging nationwide, the state is not treating this like a Baltimore City-only problem. Gov. Larry Hogan declared a heroin state of emergency soon after taking office, and dispatched Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford to hold task force meetings around the state.
“The report released today reflects the toll that addiction has exacted on our state. We are resolute in our efforts to curb the epidemic that is claiming the lives of Marylanders,” said state health secretary Van Mitchell.
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