Carroll County Health Department issues opioid alert after at least four people overdose over weekend

The Carroll County Health Department released an overdose alert Monday after reports of multiple overdoses over the weekend of Feb. 8 through Feb. 10.

There were between four and six overdoses over the weekend, according to Maggie Kunz, a health planner with the department.


“We aren't sure of the exact number because sometimes an overdose can present as a cardiac arrest or another condition, or vice versa. We are also still getting some reports about the weekend,” she wrote in an email. “Our threshold is four overdoses, so we felt it was appropriate to send out the alert even though we are still confirming some of the information.”

Past spikes in overdoses have been linked with the presence of powerful synthetic opioid drugs, such as fentanyl or carfentanil, in the black market drug supply. Fentanyl has been found in both heroin and cocaine, and even in counterfeit pills designed to look like medications such as Valium or Xanax.

In addition to warning drug users, and their friends and family of the heightened risk of overdose due to uncertain drug supply, the news release also points to resources, such as the 24-hour Maryland Crisis Hotline, available by dialing 211 or visiting

Those interested in receiving training in and obtaining doses of the opioid drug antidote naloxone — brand name Narcan — should contact Access Carroll at 410-876-4800.

Between Monday’s overdose alert and the most recent statistics on overdoses in the month of January, 2019 is consistent with the patterns seen in the latter half of 2018: decreasing overdoses and deaths due to heroin, prescription drugs and other substances; and an increase in overdoses, often in concentrated spikes, due to fentanyl.

A recent report from the county Sheriff’s Office shows there were 42 drug and alcohol overdoses — fatal and nonfatal — in January. This is a 14.3 percent decrease from the 49 overdoses seen in January of 2018, Sheriff’s Office Crime Analyst Christine Garvin noted in an email accompanying the report.

The number of fatal overdoses in January also decreased compared with last January. While there were 11 deaths in the first month of 2018, this January there were three, a 72.7 percent decrease, according to the report.

There were two heroin-related deaths in January 2018 and none in January 2019, and five fentanyl-related deaths in January 2018 and one in January 2019, according to the report.

However, those totals may change as a result of Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Investigations into suspicious deaths that have not yet been counted, according to the report, and do not reflect February of 2019.