Public Health Update: Heroin Overdose Deaths on the Rise; Rx Opioid Overdose Deaths Down

 BALTIMORE (December 7, 2012) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene today released data for the first seven months of 2012 that show an increase in overdose deaths related to heroin coinciding with a decline in overdose deaths related to prescription opioids. Overall, there were six percent more drug overdose deaths during the first seven months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Following a decline from 2007 to 2011, there were 205 heroin-related overdose deaths in the first seven months of 2012, compared to 145 during the same period in 2011, an increase of 41 percent. At the same time, overdose deaths related to prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone have declined by 15 percent, from 208 to 177.

Central Maryland experienced a 47 percent increase in heroin overdose deaths, while Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore have also seen substantial increases of 54 percent and 80 percent, respectively.

The shift from prescription opioid- to heroin-related overdose deaths may reflect a growing trend where individuals who abuse prescription opioids initiate heroin use. Public health and law enforcement authorities in Maryland and across the country are reporting that heroin is becoming a cheap, potent and accessible alternative to pharmaceutical opioids that are now more expensive and difficult to obtain for non-medical use. The largest increases in fatal heroin-related overdoses in Maryland have been among younger age groups, including a 53 percent increase among ages 15-24 and a 59 percent increase among ages 35-44.

“The rise in overdoses from heroin is a new and concerning trend,” said DHMH Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein. "By addressing this issue, we can continue the progress Maryland has made against drug addiction."

Maryland's public health response to this challenge will include:

Outreach to physicians and other health care providers to help them identify potential heroin users and refer them to effective treatment. Click here to read a letter sent to Maryland physicians;
Support for innovative local efforts to respond to drug overdose across the state; and
Development of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) to provide support for referral to treatment.

Reducing drug-induced deaths is a major public health goal of Maryland’s State Health Improvement Process (http://dhmh.maryland.gov/SHIP).


 

Substance Abuse Help

 

Zika Information

 

Rabies Information


     

WCHD News

Crystal Bell will participate in "Walkable Communities" training program.


Snow Hill, MD - America Walks, a national advocacy organization working to empower communities to create safe, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk, announced today that they are awarding Crystal Bell, of Worcester County Health Department, a Walking College Fellowship as part of the 2018 program. The Fellowship will enable Bell and other advocates from around the country to participate in a five-month training program designed to strengthen local efforts to make communities more walkable and livable.

Read more ...

Cases are on the Rise—Effects can be Harmful and Deadly

Baltimore, MD (April 17, 2018) – The Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Poison Center have reported the fourth hospitalization in Maryland from individuals experiencing risk of severe bleeding after using synthetic cannabinoids, which are often called Spice, K2, Bliss, Scooby Snax, or fake weed. 

Read more ...

Click on an event below to register for that event and get more info:

 

 

Fatalities related to intoxication down in Somerset, Worcester and Wicomico in 2017

Snow Hill, MD- Deaths related to drug and alcohol intoxication, including opioid overdoses, are down in Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset Counties, according to 3rd Quarter 2017 Overdose Data released by the Maryland Department of Health last week. From January through September 2016, compared to the same period in 2017, intoxication fatalities are down 20-percent in Somerset County, 42-percent in Worcester County, and 32-percent in Wicomico County. The drop-off in the Tri-County region comes at a time when overall drug and alcohol related deaths in Maryland are on the rise.

Read more ...

Directs Attorney General to File Lawsuit Against Opioid Manufacturers; Announces Plans to Convert Former City Jail into a Secure Treatment Facility, Enhance Data Sharing Among First Responders, Strengthen Volume Dealer Law to Include Fentanyl

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Larry Hogan and Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford today unveiled a series of executive actions and proposed legislation to continue the administration’s aggressive fight against the heroin and opioid crisis. The governor also authorized the Attorney General to file suit against select opioid manufacturers and distributors on the grounds that they have misled the public and helped to create the addiction crisis gripping Maryland and the nation.

Read more ...
 Lower Shore Health Insurance Assistance Program