Addiction in Baltimore
Even before President Trump declared a national opioid epidemic, Baltimore, Maryland, had been feeling the impact of heroin abuse. Open air drug markets and overdoses plague the city. What’s even worse is that now fentanyl has a stranglehold within the Baltimore drug market. Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are contaminating more and more drugs, people, and neighborhoods. With a spike in deaths and addiction swelling throughout the city, Baltimore is facing one of the worst crises across the nation.
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Baltimore: Heroin Capital of U.S.
Maryland as a whole has unprecedented rates of death by opioid overdose at 34.7 in 2016, but in Baltimore, the rate of death by opioid overdose was an astonishing 112.9. How does a city’s heroin problem become this bad? It’s hard to say. Baltimore has been known for having a heroin problem even before there was a nationwide opioid epidemic. However, it has obviously spiked.
In Baltimore, the CDC reported that there were 650 deaths tied to heroin in 2016. This was a growth of 60.5% from the year before. Though not all of the data has been collected from 2017, the Maryland health department reported that 523 people died from opioids between January and September, 80 more deaths than the same time frame the previous year. Baltimore County, the metropolitan area that surrounds, but does not include, Baltimore, also saw an increase in this time frame to 238 opioid-related deaths. Heroin and prescription opioids, however, are not the only problem found in Maryland.
Baltimore Addiction Statistics
In Baltimore alone, the CDC has tied 650 deaths to heroin.
Fatal heroin overdoses in Baltimore grew by 60.5% from 2015 to 2016.
Fentanyl was involved in more than 78% of all opioid-related deaths across Maryland.
The Rapid Rise of Fentanyl in Baltimore
While Baltimore is notorious for being the heroin capital of the world, there is a more dangerous opioid on the rise. From January to September of 2017, Maryland saw 1,501 opioid-related deaths. Of those 1,501, fentanyl was involved in 1,173 of them. Along with being present in two-thirds of fatal cocaine overdoses, fentanyl is making its way into a large portion of other drugs that people are buying. While people could be buying these drugs intentionally, it is more likely that the drugs people are buying are either being cut or laced with fentanyl. This is becoming a popular practice among dealers who want to keep their cost down and increase the potency of their drugs. However, dealers can’t accurately measure or mix fentanyl due to its strength, which has led to a spike in deaths across the country.
Battling the Opioid Epidemic in Baltimore
The amount of deaths in Baltimore is not due to negligence. The city administered 13,082 naloxone kits to combat individuals in the midst of an overdose in 2017. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that is used to stop someone’s overdose. Depending on the amount or concentration of opioids used, it could take multiple injections of naloxone to stop the effects. Drugs like fentanyl, that are up to 100 times more potent than heroin, could take a few shots of naloxone before the harm of an overdose truly passes. These kits, typically costing around $75 a piece, have cost the city nearly $1 million. However, while they have saved lives, these kits are a band-aid. The only real solution to this crisis is recovery.
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If you, or a loved one, are suffering from addiction, do not be afraid to reach out. Addiction is more than just a disease, it is a weight. It isn’t a typical sickness that can be easily treated, it is a battle. The first step to fighting addiction is to come forward. Whether it is for you or someone else, reaching out could save someone’s life. If you want help but don’t know where to turn, try a dedicated treatment provider. They can answer any rehab-related questions.