BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Opioids, especially fentanyl, are the leading causes of overdose deaths in Baltimore.
The drugs are a major target for the DEA.
In a recent bust, DEA agent Don Hibbert said “We seized 45 kilos, approximately 100 pounds of deadly fentanyl and heroin headed directly for the street of West Baltimore,”
Taking drugs and their sellers off the streets is a priority for law enforcement, but a new federal strategy is rolling out in Baltimore.
“We need the help of law enforcement and diversion control, manufacturers and state health officials and first responders, all working together to try to attack this problem,” said Maryland’s U.S. Attorney Robert Hur.
Representatives from many of those organizations lined up shoulder to shoulder for the announcement and a huge challenge.
“We do a really good job of attacking the supply side,” said Baltimore’s interim police commissioner Gary Tuggle. “But we have to increase our focus on the demand side,”
The plan is to get those addicted into treatment and educate everyone else, starting with school kids, about the dangers opioid pose.
“If we get to a place where we get them not to engage and be aware of how not to engage, then we start eating at the demand side,” said Clay Stamp, the executive director of Maryland’s Opioid Operational Command Center
But even with treatment, stopping addiction is not easy.
Maryland’s Attorney General Brian Frosh shared an experience in his own family.
“My relative has been through rehab several times. We think that ultimately my relative will make a complete recovery and is on the right path now. But it is a struggle every single day,” said Frosh.