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MD Opioid ODs decline for first time in 10 years

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Annapolis, MD -- Some good news in the fight against the opioid crisis in Maryland. The state has seen its first six-month decline in the total number of opioid-related fatalities in at least a decade.

According to a report from The Maryland Department of Health and Opioid Operational Command Center, in the first half of 2019, there were 1,182 total unintentional intoxication deaths in the state, an 11.3% decrease as compared to the same period in 2018. Of that total, 89.7% (1,060) were opioid-related deaths, primarily attributable to fentanyl. Opioid-related deaths declined by 11.1%.

In addition, heroin-related deaths continued to decline, decreasing 14.9% through June 2019 compared with the same period in 2018. Prescription opioid-related deaths declined by 3.5% in the first six months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.

Fentanyl continues to be the deadliest substance, with 962 fentanyl-related deaths occurring in the first six months of 2019. This represents a 7.8% decrease over the same period last year. Fentanyl was involved in 90.8% of opioid-related deaths during this period.

Deaths related to cocaine, the third most prevalent drug involved with overdose deaths, declined as well. Comparing the periods of January through June 2018 and 2019, the number of cocaine-related deaths decreased 16.6%. The increase in cocaine-related deaths over the last several years can be attributed to cocaine combined with opioids, which were found in approximately 90% of cocaine-related deaths so far in 2019.

“Prevention and providing treatment 24/7 continue to be our priorities,“ said Maryland Department of Health Secretary Robert R. Neall. “We're continuing our efforts to get naloxone out into the community and to train people on how to use it."

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