Fatal and nonfatal drug overdoses in Howard County dropped in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2018, county police report.

There were eight fatal overdoses from this January through the end of March, five confirmed related to opioids and the other three suspected of being caused by opioids, according to Seth Hoffman, a police spokesman. In the first three months of 2018, there were 11 confirmed opioid-related fatalities.

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For nonfatal, there have been 44 recorded in the first quarter of 2019, while there were 56 recorded by the end of March 2018.

There have been a total of 52 fatal and nonfatal overdoses recorded in Howard for 2019 so far.

There were 187 nonfatal overdoses and 41 fatal — 31 of those being opioid related — recorded in all of 2018.

Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency in response to Maryland’s opioid crisis in March 2018, pledging to spend $10 million a year over the next five years. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, who lives in Columbia, serves as the chair of the state’s Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force.

Grassroots Center receives $1M grant to help combat opioid crisis in Howard County

Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, in partnership with the Howard County Health Department, received a nearly $1.1 million State Opioid Response Grant from the Maryland Department of Health to establish 24-hour crisis services at the center.

Howard police and the fire department’s fire engines and ambulances carry the drug naloxone, which can reverse the symptoms of an opioid overdose. Also known under its commercial name Narcan, it is available in automated external defibrillator boxes in all county-owned buildings.

Howard’s police department has a full-time opioid coordinator who monitors overdose trends, works with victims and families, and tries to help stop the cycle of death and drug misuse, police Chief Lisa Myers has previously said.

To combat the epidemic, county fire and rescues services have increased the amount of naloxone carried by employees, Brad Tanner, a fire department spokesman, previously said.

In February, the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center in Columbia, working in partnership with the Howard County 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.

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