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Why Does the State of Maryland Have a High Rate of Opioid Abuse?

Created On Monday, 21, October 2019
Modified On Tuesday, 01, September 2020

Maryland is among the top five states for opioid-related overdose deaths, per the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In 2017 there were 1,985 overdose deaths because of opioids. This was a rate of around 32 deaths per 1000 persons, which was two-timed greater than the national average. Like many other states struggling with opioid abuse, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl contributed to these deaths. The deaths associated with heroin dropped over the past few years as well as prescription opioid-related deaths. The prescribing rates for opioids in Maryland are much lower than the national average. In 2017, Maryland prescribers wrote 51.7 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons. This rate was lower than the national average at that time.

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Many of the opioid problems in Maryland are attributed to fentanyl, heroin, and fentanyl being found in other drugs. Along with synthetic opioids, drugs such as cocaine have played a major role in the number of overdose deaths. Since 2015 the number of cocaine-related deaths has gone up every year. The vast majority of the overdose deaths with cocaine, approximately 82%, involved fentanyl. In 2018, around 900 people died from a cocaine-related death in Maryland. Roughly half of these deaths occurred in Baltimore, which holds 10% of the population of Maryland. Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties had the second and third most deaths in the state.

Across the state during the first quarter of 2019, cocaine was involved in 186 deaths, which was down from the previous year. Strong drug prevention efforts in 2019 have increased awareness and helped with lowering the number of overdose deaths. Drug prevention and more rehabilitation and treatment methods do help reduce the rate of overdose deaths. In 2018, the cocaine-related deaths accounted for 37% of all the drug and alcohol-related deaths in the state. Maryland is still struggling with many problems with drug and alcohol abuse, yet state officials are making progress to provide treatment, prevention, and reduction of overdoses deaths.

CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE

Nickolaus Hayes - Author

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