Tag Archives: Maryland

Heroin ODs in Maryland up by 54%: officials

heroinFatal overdoses from heroin rose by 54% in Maryland from 2011 to 2012, due in part to the state’s painkiller addiction epidemic, according to a report released by the state health department on Wednesday. This increase led to a 15% rise in the total number of fatal drug- and alcohol-related overdoses in the state, from 663 in 2011 to 761 in 2012.

According to the report, 2012 marked a reversal in recent alcohol and drug overdose trends: heroin-related deaths, which declined 36% between 2007 and 2011, increased among all demographic groups and in all regions in the state from 2011 to 2012.

In contrast, deaths related to prescription opioids like oxycodone and methadone, which increased 18% between 2007 and 2011, decreased 12% between 2011 and 2012, according to the report.

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As Fla. pill supply dwindles, heroin sweeps East Coast

heroinfoilFlorida’s crackdown on pill mills has dried up the supply of pills to much of the East Coast, with the unintended consequence of fueling heroin abuse. As this article notes, the rise in heroin use on Cape Cod “follows a predictable course seen nationwide: when the pills disappear, heroin sweeps in.”

Between Feb. 26 and March 30, the Cape saw at least eight drug-related deaths; in the same period, police responded to another four suspected heroin overdoses in which the person was revived, the article says.

A few years ago, most cases handled by the Cape Cod Drug Task Force involved pills, but now the police estimate that as much as 95% of their caseload is heroin-related, according to the article.

The trend highlights the fallout from Florida’s efforts to turn around its reputation as the nation’s epicenter of prescription drug abuse. On the bright side, the tougher regulations resulted in the number of pill mills in the state dropping from 854 to 580 between March 2011 and March 2012, according to this article.

In that same time period, the number of inappropriate prescribers of OxyContin in Florida dropped from 98 to 11; Florida previously had the most prescribers of OxyContin in the nation, the article says.

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Fatal heroin overdoses spike in Maryland

Officials in Maryland are dealing with an alarming uptick in heroin overdoses and are concerned that the trend may be an unintended consequence of state efforts to crack down on prescription drug addiction, according to this article. Fatal heroin overdoses across the state rose by 41% this year, while cases involving prescription drugs fell by 15%, the article notes.

Maryland is the latest state to see an increase in heroin abuse in the wake of the painkiller addiction epidemic. Last month, law enforcement officials in Kentucky reported a dramatic rise in the number of arrests and seizures related to heroin. Kentucky State Police submitted 451 suspected heroin samples to its lab in 2010; by 2011, that number had increased to 749, and through September 2012, state police had submitted 1,074 cases to the lab. And in Pennsylvania, it was reported that heroin-related deaths in Allegheny County increased from 62 in 2008 to 95 in 2011.

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