Governor Touts Commitment to Address Rising Heroin Deaths

Despite efforts to reduce the number of heroin-related overdose deaths in Maryland, the numbers continue to rise. Governor Martin O’Malley discussed the rise in overdoses as well as his administration’s commitment to reduce the deaths at a news conference Thursday. As reported in The Washington Post:

“While I’d like to stand here and tell you that this is getting better, it’s not,” O’Malley said at a news conference at the Annapolis Police Department, one of a series of events examining his progress on 16 strategic goals. “It’s getting worse, which is why we are redoubling our efforts.”

During the first three months of 2014, 252 people died from overdoses, according to data released Thursday, a 33 percent increase from the same time period the year before. Officials say 148 of the deaths were the result of heroin.

There were 858 drug and ­alcohol-related overdose deaths in the state in 2013. Of those, 464 involved heroin, an 88 percent increase from 2011. That means more people in Maryland were killed by heroin in 2013 than were murdered.

State health officials are treating the opiate overdoses like an epidemic. O’Malley has convened an Overdose Prevention Council to coordinate with state agencies to collect and analyze data and come up with strategies to prevent fatalities. The council met for the first time this month.
For more information read the full article in The Washington Post.

Opioid abuse will also be discussed at MACo’s Summer Conference in two sessions – one looking at the issue from a public health perspective, and one from a public safety perspective.

Learn more about MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference:

Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White with questions about Summer Conference.