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The Maryland Department of Health on Oct. 12 released data for unintentional drug and alcohol-related intoxication deaths from January through June, 2018. During that period, there were 1,325 total unintentional intoxication deaths, a 12 percent increase over the same period in 2017. Of those, 1,185 were opioid-related, including 1,038 fentanyl-related deaths.
According to the health department, more than 75 percent of overdose deaths in 2018 involved fentanyl, a widely used synthetic opioid that’s used both medically and also made illegally and taken as a recreational drug.
Heroin-related deaths decreased 20 percent compared to the same period in 2017 and prescription opioid deaths dropped 7 percent.
However, overall overdose numbers in the state have trended up sharply not only during the last decade, but during the last several years. Unintentional intoxication deaths from January to June totaled 359 in 2008. Since 2012, those have increased each year: 385 (2012); 397 (2013); 528 (2014); 601 (2015); 979 (2016); 1,179 (2017); 1,325 (2018).
Opioid-related overdose deaths numbered 261 in 2008, but shot up to 873 in 2016, up to 1,032 in 2017 and 1,185 in 2018.
There were 13 fentanyl-related deaths during the first half of 2008. The numbers jumped to 469 in 2016, 800 last year and 1,038 during the first six months of this year.
Prescription-related deaths have held more constant: 136 during the first two quarters of 2008, 218 during the same period in 2016 and 199 from January to June of this year. - From the Bayside Gazette, Written by Josh Davis



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