The number of drug and alcohol overdoses and fatalities in Carroll County have declined substantially over the past three months after a start to 2021 that was on record-setting pace.
There have been 178 overdoses through May, according to the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office’s monthly report, which is an 11.3% increase over the 160 reported for the first five months of last year.
However, through February, Carroll overdoses had risen by more than 50% year over year. In the past three months, Carroll has reported 12 fewer overdoses than for the same period in 2020.
In 2020, 426 overdoses were reported for an average of 35.5 per month. Carroll is averaging 35.6 per month so far in 2021.
With 26 people having died of overdoses in Carroll in 2021, fatalities are up by 36.8% in 2021. But, again, that is largely the result of the first two months of the years, when 16 fatalities were reported. From March through May, there have been 10 overdose deaths compared to 12 over the same period a year ago.
Still, Carroll is on pace for 62 fatal overdoses this year after there were 45 in 2020. At least four people (and as many as 10) have died of overdoses in Carroll in eight of the past nine months.
Through February, the county was on pace for 534 overdoses and 96 fatalities. The highest totals reported in a year by the Sheriff’s Office were 513 and 71, both in 2018.
In May, Carroll reported 34 overdoses. That was an increase over the 29 reported in April, but a 26% decrease compared with last May (46).
The four overdose fatalities in May were the same number as last April and two less than May 2020.
Of the 34 overdoses in May, nine have been ruled intentional (with 24 ruled accidental and one undetermined). The nine suicide attempts were up from five in April, which had been the lowest total for a month this year. There were no deaths by suicide resulting from overdoses in May.
For May, the drug or method of overdose in six cases was prescription medications. The combination of heroin and fentanyl was found to be the method of overdose in five cases, heroin alone in four, alcohol abuse in four, other opiates in three. The method is unknown in three cases and three cases are still pending review by the office of the chief medical examiner (OCME). Two were cocaine, two were other controlled dangerous substances, one was over-the-counter medicine and one was fentanyl.
Demographically, 32 of the May overdoses were suffered by county residents and 29% of all overdoses were responded to by Westminster police. The age group with the most overdose reports was 25-34, which accounted for 32% of the overdoses while 18% were 35-44, 18% were over 55, 15% were 45-54, 12% were 19-24 and 6% were 18 and under.
The youngest overdose victims were two 15-year-olds; the oldest were two 67-year-olds.
Three of the fatal overdoses were men in their 40s. The fourth was a 54-year-old woman. One death was ruled fentanyl intoxication; the other three are pending OCME review.
The monthly report, which is put together by Regional Heroin Coordinator Brant Webb, includes data from Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, Westminster Police Department, Maryland State Police, Manchester Police Department, Hampstead Police Department, Taneytown Police Department, Mount Airy Police Department and Sykesville Police Department.