While overdoses in Carroll County were up year over year in October, they were down significantly when compared to the previous month.
Law enforcement agencies reported 40 overdose cases in October, according to data released by the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office. While that was a 17.5% increase in overdoses when compared to October 2019 numbers, it was a 21.5% decrease from September, when a 2020-high 51 overdoses were recorded.
Of the 40 October overdoses, half of them occurred within Carroll municipalities with 15 of those in Westminster.
“We have a lot of drugs and drug dealing in that area [Westminster] that come up from Baltimore City,” said Brant Webb, regional heroin coordinator with the Carroll County Drug Task Force.
Prescription drugs were listed as the leading cause of Carroll overdoses in October, responsible for 12 while heroin was listed as the cause of 11. That’s the lowest number of confirmed heroin overdoses in Carroll in four years, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.
Health officials say opioids make up about 90% of fatalities in the state of Maryland. And fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, was recorded as the county’s second-leading case of overdoses.
Webb said believes the number of overdose cases related to fentanyl is actually higher than the number of heroin cases recorded. But often times, the drug is not detected until a user dies.
“We suspect that a lot more of these cases are fentanyl overdoses, but we don’t usually have any drugs to send to the lab. Basically, any time we get fentanyl results back, they always come from an autopsy,” said Webb.
According to Webb, the county overdose data has been tracked monthly since 2016, when drug and opioid-related cases began to claim more lives around the Baltimore region. Data reflects overdoses reported to law enforcement agencies in Carroll.
Carroll saw four fatal overdoses in October, fewer than the five in September and the six in October 2019.
According to Sheriff’s Office data, there have been 352 overdoses this year, 258 deemed accidental, 58 deemed suicide attempts and 35 undetermined. Of the 189 overdoses within municipality limits,131 have occurred in Westminster. Carroll had seen 356 overdoses at this point in 2019.
In terms of age, 33% of the overdose victims in Carroll County have been 25 to 34 years old.
Family members and friends often treat victims with naloxone (brand-name Narcan), which is designed to quickly reverse an opioid overdose. The medication binds opioid receptors and help restore normal respiration.
“There’s a lot more overdoses that we never hear about because of Narcan. A lot of the families around the county are trained with with using the medication on their family members, they recover and we never hear about it,” said Webb.
Latest Carroll County News
The Carroll County Health Department distributes the medication for free and also host series of virtual events and community outreach efforts for users in need.