Fatal overdoses down in Howard County from last year

Jess Nocera
Contact ReporterHoward County Times

Fatal opioid-related overdoses in Howard County in the first six months of 2018 decreased from the same period last year, while the number of non-fatal drug overdoses increased, according to Howard County Police.

There were 24 fatal overdoses in the county through June, and 30 in the first six months of 2017, police spokesman Seth Hoffman said.

Through June, 101 non-fatal overdoses were reported compared to 89 in the same period in 2017.

Police note that the numbers may fluctuate after autopsies are completed.

“There is nothing to report as a reason for the slight decrease,” Hoffman said.

All police officers carry the overdose antidote naloxone with them, Hoffman said.

Howard County police responded to two overdoses on July 5. In both cases, naloxone was administered and the patients were taken to Howard County General Hospital, police said.

Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency on Maryland’s opioid crisis in March and pledged to spend $10 million a year, over the next five years, to battle the epidemic.

In January, state health officials released data for “unintentional fatal overdoses” through the third quarter of 2017 — January through September — and reported that there were 1,501 opioid-related deaths in the state, 1,173 of which are linked to the painkiller fentanyl.

County Executive Allan Kittleman signed an executive order to establish a county Opioid Crisis Community Council. The council works to review efforts and identify new opportunities in addressing opioid misuse.

The county partnered with the Aetna Foundation this past December to have naloxone available in all county buildings.

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