The State Continues to Battle Increasing Drug Abuse Problem

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– More than 1200 people died from drug overdoses statewide last year. A number the state already shattered with close to 1500 back in September.

Maryland has seen it’s fair share of deadly wrecks and homicides in 2016, but officials say drug overdoses are now killing far more Americans than both — concerns that continue to grow in Baltimore City.

“This is something that affects each and every one of us,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen.

An impact that’s being felt from Harford County.

“We’re being aggressive in trying to track down the dealers,” said Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler.

To Baltimore City,  where health officials say there will be right around 500 overdose deaths for 2016. Numbers that are beyond alarming.

“There are more people in Baltimore City who die from overdose than die from homicides,” said Dr. Wen.

Health officials say there are more than 21,000 people who use heroin in Baltimore, and many more who have addictions to other substances. While the total continues to surge, Health Commissioner Wen says so does the use of a drug called fentanyl.

“This is not just a Baltimore problem, it’s all across Maryland,” she said.

A drug Wen says is hundreds of times stronger than heroin and dozens of times stronger than morphine. While getting every addict the help they need is nearly impossible, Wen says it’s crucial to give citizens the power to save a life.

“There’s medication called naloxone or narcan that can save someone’s life they need someone else to save their lives.”

The health department has already trained more than 17,000 every day citizens how to administer the medication. They also says a new law was passed in Maryland to help save lives, that allows citizens to call 911 when they see someone overdosing.

Even if you’re involved in drugs you will not be arrested or prosecuted.

For more information go to the health website.

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