That’s 21 percent more than the previous year, and nearly double the number of overdose deaths the state saw in 2010. The majority of those deaths were attributed to heroin, which killed 748 Marylanders last year–a 29 percent increase over 2014. Deaths attributed to prescription drugs rose by 6 percent, to 351. Despite Baltimore’s arguable reputation as the heroin capital of America, this is a problem that goes well beyond our local community: Overdose deaths are up across the country; nationwide, deaths attributed to heroin increased sixfold between 2010 and 2014.
In response to the alarming spike in overdose deaths, Maryland has passed new laws making naloxone, a drug that helps treat overdoses, more widely available. The state also passed a law that provides criminal immunity to anyone providing assistance in an emergency overdose situation.