Maryland drug overdoses up 66% in 2016: 7 report findings

Alcohol and drug intoxication deaths in Maryland increased for the sixth straight year in 2016, peaking at 2,089 deaths — the largest number ever recorded in the state, according to a report from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

The number of deaths also marks the largest single-year increase in deaths due to drug and alcohol poisoning ever recorded in the state. The total increased by 830 deaths, marking a 66 percent rise from 2015 to 2016. The rise is indicative of an opioid abuse crisis that spurred the state's governor to declare a state of emergency in March to devote more resources to address the issue, according to The Washington Post.

Here are seven key findings from the report.

1. Eighty-nine percent of all intoxication deaths reported in Maryland last year were related to either illicit or prescription opioid use.

2. Opioid-related deaths jumped by 70 percent between 2015 and 2016.

3. Increased fentanyl and heroin use were the primary drivers of the increase in opioid-related deaths. Heroin-related deaths increased by 62 percent, and fentanyl-related deaths surged from 340 in 2015 to 1,119 in 2016, marking a more than threefold increase.

4. Heroin-related deaths have increased by fivefold since 2010. Overdose deaths related to heroin have risen among blacks and whites, men and women, and all age groups in every region of the state.

5. Fifty-eight percent of heroin-related deaths in 2016 also involved fentanyl.

6. Prescription-related opioid overdose deaths also jumped from 351 in 2015 to 418 in 2016, represnetng a 19 percent increase.

7. Fifty-eight percent of cocaine overdose deaths in 2016 also involved heroin, and 55 percent involved fentanyl.

More articles on opioids: 
CDC: Hospitalizations for heroin-related infections on the rise in North Carolina 
Connecticut lawmakers pass bill mandating e-prescriptions for opioids 
FDA pressures Endo to take opioid off market amid public health crisis: 6 things to know


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