Harford County ‘HOPE’ Reps Talk Heroin Stats to Community Members

Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler and other representatives from HOPE the county’s Heroin Overdose Prevention Effort met with Harford County community members to discuss the latest heroin and opioid statistics as well as what is being done to battle the epidemic.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

The latest incidents brought the number of overdoses reported to the Sheriff’s Office this year to 37, six of which have been fatal. Out of 201 overdoses reported in 2015, 28 were fatal, according to data presented Monday by the sheriff.

“It sounds crazy and it sounds scary,” Gahler said of the number of overdoses. “It is both.”

Gahler, Erik Robey, the Sheriff’s Office director of community and legislative affairs; Joe Ryan, manager of the Harford County Office of Drug Control Policy; and Bob Benedetto, chief of safety and security for Harford County Public Schools, spoke to about 40 people gathered in a meeting room at the Highland Presbyterian Church in Street.

Despite the bleak picture, the HOPE work group representatives touched on a number of programs adopted by law enforcement, community groups and Harford students to combat the epidemic and steer addicts toward treatment rather than jail.

All police officers working in Harford carry Narcan, a medication which has saved 30 overdose victims since September of 2014, Gahler said. They also carry HELP cards, created by the Harford County Health Department, that give addicts and their families information about peer-to-peer programs in which addicts can talk to people in recovery about getting help.

Inmates at the Harford County Detention Center who seek drug treatment while incarcerated can sign up to take the medication Vivitrol, which prevents them from getting high if they use heroin, giving them a head start on getting clean before they are released, according to Gahler.

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun.

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