Maryland Opioid Overdose Statistics
According to a report by the Maryland Department of Health, during the first half of 2018, which encompasses January through June, 1,325 people died from overall use of intoxicating agents, in comparison to 1,032 from the same period in 2017. From that number, opioid abuse caused 1,185 of those casualties.
A later report by the MDH that covered the first three quarters of the year saw the number increase to 1,848 casualties, with 90% of them caused by opioid overdose.
Out of Maryland’s opioid overdose statistics for the first half of the year, Fentanyl is the most prominent opioid as we’ve stated many times before. MDH identified fentanyl as the cause behind 1,038 deaths from the total number of opioid overdose deaths, nearly three quarters. Fentanyl’s growth is notorious since 2017, where the number of deaths caused by the drug was greater than the number of heroin-related deaths.
Fentanyl is infamous for being the deadliest opioid around. This synthetic opioid is 50 times more powerful than heroin, and it only takes a small amount to kill the user. Another concern around fentanyl is that, due to how easy and cheap it is to create, drug makers often mix it with other opioids such as heroin and cocaine, possibly contributing to the opioid abuse death statistics. This tendency surprised some cocaine users, as they relied on the relative safety of the drug, compared to fentanyl.
Cocaine is another opioid that saw a casualty increase in the first half of 2018. Compared to the first half of 2017, cocaine deaths have increased by 54%, making it the second most prominent drug found in opioid overdose deaths in the state, outpacing heroine. MDH attributes most of these deaths to the combination of cocaine with other opioids, such as fentanyl, since 90% of the cocaine-related deaths were meeting this condition. This combination of drugs is particularly deadly, since the cocaine speeds up the heart’s necessity for oxygen, while fentanyl slows down a person’s desire to breathe and take in more oxygen.
Other Opioid Casualty Statistics
In contrast to fentanyl and cocaine, the casualty rates for other opioids in Maryland has decreased compared to the first quarter from 2017.
- Heroin deaths have reduced from 587 to 469, nearly 20% down from last year.
- Prescription medication casualties, a major problem earlier on, have gone from 213 to 199, a 7% decrease from the previous year.
- Deaths caused by carfentanil have dropped from 46 to 1, compared to 2017.