Tuesday, June 2, 2020
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Fentanyl deaths up 70% this year in Maryland

Although the number of heroin overdose deaths in Maryland from January through June leveled off this year, the number of overdose deaths continued to rise, and the number of deaths from the synthetic opioid fentanyl spiked sharply, the state’s health department reported.

Fentanyl deaths in the first half of the year rose sharply in 2017 (Md. Dept. of Health)

The Maryland Department of Health reported yesterday that 799 people died from a fentanyl-related overdose between January and June of this year, compared to 469 in 2016, representing a 70-percent increase in just one year.

“Maryland is continuing to combat this crisis—including the increasingly deadly threat posed by fentanyl and carfentanil—with everything we’ve got, and we see a significant amount of work being done at the state and local level each day,” the Baltimore Sun quoted Clay Stamp, executive director of the state’s Opioid Operational Command Center, as saying. “It will take everyone working together—from the federal, state, and local levels—to turn the tide in this epidemic and save the lives of thousands of Marylanders.”

The spike in synthetic opioids reflects a national trend, and schools have stepped up the watch for signs of accidental or intentional overdoses on the part of students as young as elementary school.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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