Fentanyl Fueling Deaths in Maryland
As Maryland officials review and finalize the public health stats from 2017, there has been a positive reduction in the number of opioid prescriptions written. However, as reported by WFMD.com, there has also been a dangerous shift towards street drugs, especially the use of deadly fentanyl.
“The shift in the crisis that we believe developed from prescribed opioids where a lot of the protections are starting to work and we’re starting to see that number of individuals reduce, and that’s good news,” says Clay Stamp, the Executive Director of the Opioid Operation Command Center.
Heroin deaths are also dropping, but fentanyl-related fatalities and those from cocaine taken with opioids are on the increase. “The challenge is that a significant number of people that are now in that illicit drug market which is very dangerous because upwards to 60% to 70% of all fatalities are now related to fentanyl,” says Stamp.
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Stamp says one barrier preventing a lot of people from calling is the stigma related to drug addiction. He says the addicts and their families and friends need to get past that. “The way we’re going to combat that stigma or fear to say something about it is by elevating the conversation and saying ‘it’s okay. I know your son has an issue with addiction. How can we help? Let’s talk about it,’” he says.
Naloxone or NARCAN has helped make a different in saving the lives of those people experiencing overdoses. But Stamp says that’s not enough. “Naloxone saves lives. But we must take the opportunity to offer people that have been revived opportunities for follow up treatment. Because without doing that, we destined to repeat that over and over again,” Stamp says.
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To read more about how officials in Maryland are adapting their strategy to this latest fentanyl-driven phase of the opioid crisis, please visit WFMD.com.
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