Fentanyl Deaths Continue to Rise
(July 26, 2018)—The Maryland Department of Health today released data for
unintentional drug and alcohol-related intoxication deaths for the entirety of
2017 and the first quarter of 2018. Both reports can be found here.
there were 2,282 drug and alcohol-related intoxication deaths in Maryland. Of
those deaths, 2,009 were opioid-related. Fentanyl-related deaths continue to rise,
increasing from 1,119 in 2016 to 1,594 in 2017. Cocaine-related deaths are also
up from 464 in 2016 to 691 in 2017. The number of heroin-related and
prescription drug-related deaths dropped slightly in 2017 when compared to 2016.
from the first three months of 2018 indicate that there were 653 unintentional
drug and alcohol-related intoxication deaths in Maryland. There were 579
opioid-related deaths, 500 of which involved fentanyl. Heroin-related deaths
fell from 291 during the same period in 2017 to 236 in 2018, while prescription
drug-related deaths remained flat.
data shows that fentanyl combined with cocaine or heroin is driving the
increase in overall overdoses in 2017 and in the first quarter of 2018. There
has been an increase of fentanyl mixed with cocaine, which is accounting for
the increase in cocaine-related deaths. Nearly two thirds of cocaine-related
deaths in 2017 also involved fentanyl.
each year exponentially since 2011, the number of fatal heroin overdoses in
Maryland appears to be decreasing. Overdoses involving heroin have decreased
since the third quarter of 2017. The percentage of all overdose deaths
involving heroin has also decreased from 58 percent of all overdose deaths in
2016 to 36 percent of all overdose deaths in the first quarter of 2018.
Prescription drug-related deaths remained relatively
flat from 2016 to 2017, dropping by five from 418 to 413. The number of
prescription drug-related deaths remained the same in the first quarter of 2018
compared to the same time period in 2017 with 104.
is starting to see a decline in heroin-related deaths, fentanyl-related deaths continue
to rise in staggering numbers,” said Maryland Department of Health Secretary
Robert R. Neall. “In the first three months of 2018 alone, we’ve seen 500
fentanyl-related deaths. We’re asking those with a substance use disorder to
immediately seek treatment and for more individuals to learn how to use and
Multiple efforts to combat this epidemic are underway.
The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) has been established by the Department’s Behavioral Health Administration to
support health care providers and their patients in the safe and effective use
of prescription drugs. The PDMP collects and securely stores information on
drugs that contain controlled substances and are dispensed to patients in
Maryland. Providers were required to register for the PDMP by July 1, 2017 and,
as of July 1, 2018, are now required to access the data before writing a
prescription. Access to prescription data is made available at no-cost to
physicians, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and others that provide
pharmaceutical care to their patients. Use of prescription information improves
providers’ ability to manage the benefits and risks of controlled substance
medications and identify potentially harmful drug interactions.
"Every day, numerous state agencies and other
stakeholders are working together on the statewide response. We are seeing
success on the prescriber side as hospitals and medical providers have been
driving innovative solutions to reduce inappropriate prescribing," said
Clay Stamp, executive director, Opioid Operational Command Center. "Yet,
we have to stay focused on and resolute in our three-pronged strategy –
prevention and education, enforcement, and expanding access to treatment and
expanded access to naloxone, a life-saving drug that can reverse opioid drug
overdoses. On June 1, 2017, the Department’s Public Health Deputy Secretary,
Dr. Howard Haft, issued a new standing order that allows pharmacies and
hospitals to dispense naloxone to individuals who may be at risk of an overdose
or anyone who may be able to help someone who overdoses. The new
standing order replaces one from December 2014 and now allows pharmacists to
dispense naloxone to anyone regardless of whether the person has previously
been certified through the Overdose Response Program or received any training
in opioid overdose response. This action is authorized
through legislation signed by Governor Larry Hogan. Naloxone safely and
effectively reverses an overdose and has a low risk for adverse effects. Fentanyl
and carfentanil may require multiple doses of naloxone to be administered to
help victims overdosing on those substances.
heroin and opioid epidemic in Maryland has been a top priority of the
Hogan-Rutherford administration. The Maryland Department of Health, in
partnership with the Opioid Operational Command Center and other state
agencies, continues to collaborate with federal, state, and local partners in
the fight to reduce the number of overdoses and resulting fatalities in a
multitude of ways.
need help finding substance-use-disorder treatment resources should visit https://goo.gl/D9zVep or call the Maryland
Crisis Hotline, which provides 24/7 support, at 211, press 1. For information
on many of the policies currently implemented to fight addiction and overdose
in Maryland, see https://goo.gl/D9zVep. If you know of someone in need of treatment
for a substance use disorder, treatment facilities can be located by location
and program characteristics on the Department’s page at http://goo.gl/rbGF6S.
The Maryland Department of Health is the State agency that
protects Maryland’s public health. We work together to promote and improve the
health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to
care, quality management, and community engagement. Stay connected: www.twitter.com/MDHealthDept and
201 W. Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-2399
(410) 767-6500 or 1-877-463-3464