But officials say they’re not declining fast enough.
Crownsville, Md (KM). During the first nine months of last year, fatalities from opiod abuse declined in Maryland. That’s according to the Maryland Opioid Operational Command Center. Executive Director Steve Schuh says that’s “very exciting to see.” “So we’re seeing for the first time across-the-board declines in every major class of illicit drugs. But the fatalities are not falling fast enough,” he says.
Schuh says cocaine fatalities are down by 9%, and heroin deaths have dropped by 13%, and even fentanyl use is declining.
But Schuh says fentanyl still remains a problem as it’s often mixed in with other illegal drugs. . “Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. It’s a heroin-like substance but it’s made synthetically in laboratories,” he says. “It is very compact. It is very inexpensive. It is 50 times more powerful by volume than heroin. And therefore it is immensely deadly.”
He also says dealers are putting it in every product they sell from cocaine to heroin because it’s is so cheap. So there’s no such thing as a safe illegal drug. “If you buy an illegal drug and ingest that compound, you are taking your life into your hands,” he says. “These drugs today are so deadly. And that’s why these numbers are not coming down to the extent we want them to. It’s because of how deadly fentanyl is.”
Schuh says there’s a 90% chance any illegal drug you purchase could have fentanyl in it. “You’d have to be lucky if it doesn’t have fentanyl in it,” he says.
But Schuh says more citizens are becoming more aware of the dangers illegal drugs, and that’s helping to bring those numbers down, even if it’s just a little. He says the “degree of public awareness of the dangers of awareness of fetanyl is growing each and every day. People understand the dangers today like they did not a year or two ago,” he says.
Anyone whose having a drug addiction problem or knows someone who is, Schuh help is a phone call away. The number to call is 211, and then press the number one. He says you will be connected with someone who wants to get you the help you need.
By Kevin McManus