Opioid, Heroin, Fentanyl-Related Deaths Continue to Decline in M - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Opioid, Heroin, Fentanyl-Related Deaths Continue to Decline in Maryland: Report

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ANNAPOLIS, Md.- The Maryland Department of Health and the Opioid Operational Command Center has released its 2019 second quarter report, which shows Maryland has experienced its first six-month decline in the total number of opioid-related deaths in at least a decade.

According to the report, in the first two quarters of 2019, there were 1,182 total unintentional intoxication deaths in the state. That's an 11.3 percent decrease compared to the same period in 2018. Of that total, 1,060 were opioid-related deaths, primarily attributable to fentanyl. Opioid-related deaths declined by 11.1 percent from 2018.

Additionally, heroin-related deaths continued to decline, decreasing 14.9 percent through June 2019 compared to the same period in 2018. Prescription opioid-related deaths also declined by 3.5 percent in the first six months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.

"Though the continued decline in fatal overdoses is welcome news, the heroin and opioid epidemic remains a crisis and we will continue to respond with all the tools at our disposal," Gov. Larry Hogan said. 

Fentanyl continues to be the deadliest substance, with 962 fentanyl-related deaths in the first six months of 2019. That's a 7.8 percent decrease over the same period last year, according to the report. 

Deaths related to cocaine, the third most prevalent drug involved with overdose deaths, declined as well. Comparing the periods of January through June 2018 and 2019, the number of cocaine-related deaths decreased 16.6 percent. The increase in cocaine-related deaths over the last several years can be attributed to cocaine combined with opioids, which were found in approximately 90 percent of cocaine-related deaths so far in 2019, the report found. 

The second quarter Fatal Overdose Data Report can be found here, and past quarterly reports here

“Prevention and providing treatment 24/7 continue to be our priorities,“ Maryland Department of Health Sec. Robert  Neall said. “We're continuing our efforts to get naloxone out into the community and to train people on how to use it."

Before It’s Too Late is the state’s effort to bring awareness to this epidemic and to mobilize resources for effective prevention, treatment and recovery. Marylanders struggling with a substance use disorder can find help at BeforeItsTooLateMD.org, by calling 211 and pressing 1, or by texting their ZIP code to 898-211.

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