Health Dept. says fentanyl still remains a problem.
Baltimore, Md (KM). Overdose deaths in Maryland have been declining so far this year. The Department of Health says there were 577 unintentional intoxication deaths during the first three months of 2019, which is a 15% reduction compared to the same period the previous year. Out of those deaths, the Department says, 515 or 89% were attributed to fentanyl.
Fatal overdose were down for the first time in at least a decade, says Steve Schuh, the Executive Director of the Opioid Operational Command Center. He says education about drugs is making a difference.. “Educating students, educating the general public about the dangers of drugs, particularly synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which are incredibly deadly and are being mixed into everything,” he says.
In addition, there is a widespread availability of treatment services for people who want to get clean. “All of forms of treatment, outpatient, inpatient, residential programs, crisis services, walk-in stabilization, detoxification, all those different services are now more available two-fold or even three-fold more available today then they were three years ago,” says Schuh.
He also credits enforcement by police in Maryland as helping to stem the tide of overdose deaths.
“I think we’re on the right track. I think the Governor has pointed us in the right direction, and we’re implementing strategies across the state partnering with local jurisdictions, including Frederick County, which is doing an outstanding job battling the opioid crisis,” says Schuh.
But he also says fentanyl remains a big problem because many dealers are mixing this deadly substance into other drugs such as heroin, cocaine and even marijuana and prescription medications. “The reason that is so dangerous is because fentanyl is incredibly deadly. Very small amount, a little more than a head of pin, is enough to kill a human being,” says Schuh.
Anyone who needs help getting over addictions can call 211, and press the number 1.
By Kevin McManus