BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A dramatic surge in heroin deaths is happening across the country. Health officials warn it’s because of a lethal new trend–spiking heroin with powerful painkillers.

Dozens of Marylanders have already died.

Christie Ileto has more on the deadly drug mixture.

Health officials say that combination is deadly. And it’s not just happening in one part of Maryland, but across the state.

State health officials say a deadly batch of heroin is hitting Maryland streets. The already potent drug is now being laced with fentanyl–a powerful painkiller.

“You put those two together, it’s like one plus one equals a million,” substance abuse expert Mike Gimbel said.

He says this could just be the tip of the iceberg.

“As more of this hits the street, in a battle to win over new customers, more people are going to run to it, thinking they can handle it. And they can’t,” said Gimbel.

The Office of the Medical Examiner says the drug has killed 37 people statewide since September–most being in Baltimore City, Baltimore, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.

“I go lock myself in my bathroom.”

One man describes to CBS Evening News what it’s like to try the lethal drug.

“Within probably 20 seconds, I was out,” he said.

Health officials say fentanyl is many times more powerful than morphine, and when mixed with heroin, can seriously increase the risk for an overdose death.

“Both substances slow down your breathing, and can eventually slow it down to the point of death,” said Maryland Chief Medical Examiner Dr. David Fowler.

It’s known on the street as “Theraflu” or “Bud Ice,” and it’s being dealt across the country.

But health officials are warning those chasing a high from the dangerous drug, hoping to stop the 38th Marylander from being the next statistic.

Maryland sees about 900 deaths related to drugs every year.

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