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Howard County reports reduction in opioid-related overdoses in 2018

Howard County experienced a reduction in fatal opioid-related overdoses in 2018, while non-fatal overdoses increased, according to a county health department report.

Fatal opioid-related overdoses declined 25.5% while non-fatal overdoses rose 9.9%, according to the report released last Friday afternoon.

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The percentages only reflect incidents that occurred within county limits. It does not include Howard residents who overdose in other jurisdictions, the report states.

In 2018, the county recorded 187 non-fatal overdoses and 41 fatal — 31 of those being opioid-related.

“This report from the Howard County Health Department highlights the incredible progress we have made, as well as the obstacles that remain,” County Executive Calvin Ball said in a statement.

“I want to thank everyone at the health department, our emergency responders and our community partners for working tirelessly to keep all our neighbors and loved ones healthy.”

Howard County has “five critical goals” in addressing the opioid crisis: reduce the rate of overdose deaths; reduce the rate of not-fatal overdoses; increase the rate of county residents entering treatment for substance use disorder; reduce the number of emergency department visits for opioid related incidents; and reduce the rate of opioids prescribed to patients.

Howard House, a county-owned treatment facility, opened in May. The facility is for “individuals on the path to recovery.”

Earlier this year, the health department received a nearly $1.1 million opioid response grant from the Maryland Department of Health to establish 24-hour crisis services at the center.

In 2019 so far, county police said there have been 73 non-fatal overdoses and nine fatal overdoses — eight being opioid related — in Howard County.

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