By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Last year two people a day died from overdosing in Baltimore City, a number that’s only expected to rise when the stats are in for the end of this year.

The City and State are pleading for help, while the U.S. is in the midst of a deepening crisis.

The deadly numbers in Maryland continue to surge with Baltimore at the center of the opioid epidemic.

The soaring rate is flat out frightening through the first half of the new year. There have been close to 1,200 overdose-related deaths so far in Maryland, and nearly 800 of those are linked to fentanyl.

“At one point last year, the number of fentanyl-related deaths was in the single digits, now they’re already in the triple digits this year,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen.

Fentanyl is a cheaper, more powerful narcotic that’s often mixed with heroin and goes unnoticed. It has been called “the game changer” of this crisis.

[Reporter: What comes to your mind when I say fentanyl?]

Ppoison, without a doubt,” said Paul Martin, an assistant clinical director with the Baltimore station, a rehab center that gears towards veterans. “Fentanyl is nothing new. It’s been around for years. It’s finding its way into the illicit drug market easier.”

Martin says the focus shouldn’t be on the war on drugs, but needs to be on the disease itself.

“There’s always going to be drugs but people have the problem that we can help and that’s addiction,” he said.

With numbers only getting worse, it’s an obvious sign that Maryland is in desperate need of more resources.

Martin’s message for those who are addicted or know someone who needs help, is simple:

“Find someone to tell, find someone to talk to. Reach out and do whatever you need to do because the only life you got, is the only one you’re getting.”

To speak with Martin or for more help on the Baltimore Station head to their website.

Dr. Wen says she wanted the president to declare a national emergency instead of a public emergency because she believes it would’ve freed up more resources and money.

Dr. Wen is reminding citizens how crucial it is to learn the use of narcan. It saved more than 1,200 lives in Baltimore City last year.

Follow @CBSBaltimore on Twitter and like WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore on Facebook


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s