MD Reports Increase in Heroin Overdose Deaths

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) announced on Jan. 31, that Maryland’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) is reporting an increase in the number of deaths linked to a potent and deadly batch of heroin that is tainted with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.

heroin and needles 450x280According to OCME data, between September 2013 and the end of Jan. 2014, at least 37 Maryland deaths were caused by the lethal drug combination.

The fentanyl/heroin deaths represent approximately 12 percent of 318 overdose deaths during the same time period. This represents the preliminary total of overdose deaths for the period between September 2013 and January 2014.

“DHMH is reaching out to local behavioral health providers to ensure that they are fully informed about this dangerous and deadly trend,” said Dr. Gayle Jordan Randolph, Deputy Secretary for DHMH Behavioral Health Services. “We will support the local authorities as they adapt their overdose prevention plans in response to this deadly trend.”

View Montgomery County’s Overdose Prevention Plan.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl is estimated to be 80 times more powerful than morphine and hundreds of times more potent than heroin. The presence of fentanyl dramatically increases the risk of an overdose death.

“Deaths due to the deadly heroin mixture appear to be widespread in Maryland and not localized to any specific area,” says Dr. David Fowler, Chief Medical Examiner for the State. “We have also seen overdose deaths due to fentanyl mixed with cocaine.”

Fentanyl-related deaths have been reported from Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore, and throughout Central Maryland. Recent reports indicate that heroin-fentanyl overdose deaths have also been seen in Washington State, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and along the I-95 corridor. The location of an overdose death does not necessarily indicate the source of a drug.

Deaths by county data:

Anne Arundel          4
Baltimore City        10
Baltimore County     5
Calvert                    2
Carroll                    1
Charles                   1
Frederick                2
Howard                   2
Prince George’s       5
Queen Anne’s          1
Somerset                 1
Washington             2
Wicomico                1

Like this post? Sign up for our Daily Update here.


| Comments are closed.

Engage us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter