Governor Larry Hogan said Wednesday that he was declaring the state’s opioid crisis a “state of emergency,” a broad legal step to further mobilize law enforcement and other agencies across the state to combat a growing epidemic of addiction. Governor Hogan also announced an additional $50M in new funding to fight opioid abuse and appointed Talbot County Director of Emergency Services, Clay Stamp to lead an accelerated state and local effort against drug abuse and addiction.
According to The Washington Post,
Lethal opioid overdoses have skyrocketed across the nation in recent years. In Maryland, the number of heroin-related overdose deaths rose 72 percent, to 918, during the first nine months of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015. Fatal overdoses related to prescription opioids jumped 17 percent, to 270, during that span, according to state data.
The most dramatic surge seen in recent years involves deaths from fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that killed rock legend Prince last year. The number of overdose deaths in Maryland related to that drug nearly tripled during the first three quarters of 2016, rising to 738.
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