BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As the body count climbs on Baltimore city streets, the Mayor is moving forward with plans to fight the opioid epidemic from inside local hospitals.

In the last few years, 2,700 patients who came to Medstar Union Memorial Hospital seeking treatment for various injuries and illnesses have left with referrals to drug treatment programs.

“The numbers are staggering, in terms of the prevalence of opioid use disorder in Baltimore and in our region. It’s programs like these programs that are enabling us to identify the problem, provide treatment on demand and then refer patients to community-based resources and other treatment programs and facilities,” said Stuart Levine, Medstar Harbor Hospital president.

In the first nine months of 2017, opioids killed 1,500 Marylanders.

500 of those deaths were on the streets of Baltimore.

Medstar, along with ten other local hospitals, now have new certifications to combat the ever-growing opioid epidemic in Baltimore.

“The hospitals being part of this is essential because so many people come through their doors,” said Mayor Catherine Pugh.

The hospitals partnered with the city in April for its Levels of Care initiative, putting in place specific practices for treating addiction and preventing overdose, including helping patients get Narcan to try to slow the wave of overdoses that’s swept across the city.

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Kimberly Eiten

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