Hopkins Highlights Rural Opioid Crisis

Professor Danielle German at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is researching the “social and geographic context of opioid injection and potential HIV transmission” in Washington, Allegany and Garrett counties — who is using, and where, and how.

An article in Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine focuses on her research on the opioid crisis as it is unfolding in those rural western Maryland Counties and what action they are taking to address the crisis:

Between 2007 and 2016, the number of heroin-related deaths rose faster in the state’s three Western counties than in metro Baltimore. Washington County had one fentanyl-related death in 2014. By 2016, that number had risen to 31. And what everyone hopes to avoid is what happened in rural Scott County, Indiana, three years ago, when there were more than 180 new HIV diagnoses in a single summer—largely the result of intravenous drug users sharing needles in a setting with limited prevention services. And the drug epidemic is unfolding here against a backdrop of economic decline now decades old as industries have folded or moved away. Hagerstown’s poverty rate is worse than Baltimore’s. In Cumberland, nearly one in four residents lives below the poverty line.

The article continues by describing harm reduction laws passed by the general assembly to help stem the crisis, and the work being done by German to connect with community stakeholders who have been leading the response and prevention work locally.

To learn more read the full article in Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine