37 Maryland Deaths Linked to Heroin Tainted With Fentanyl

Monday, Feb 3, 2014  |  Updated 8:47 PM EDT
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There's been a dangerous resurgence of heroin in the area, and an especially deadly mixture that's being sold on the street. News4's Chris Gordon reports.

Chris Gordon

There's been a dangerous resurgence of heroin in the area, and an especially deadly mixture that's being sold on the street. News4's Chris Gordon reports.

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At least 37 people in Maryland died from a batch of heroin tainted with fentanyl since September, according to the state medical examiner.

The deaths represent about 12 percent of the 318 overdose deaths during that period, Dr. David Fowler said Friday.

Ten of the deaths occurred in Baltimore, but Fowler said the deaths appear to be widespread in the state and not limited to any specific area. Prince George's County had five deaths, Anne Arundel County four deaths, and Frederick, Howard and Calvert counties each reported two deaths.

Prince George's County Health Officer Pamela Creekmur said they put an overdose prevention workforce in place last year.

At Bread for the City, a clinic in Northwest D.C. where heroin users can seek medical help, they've noticed a spike since Thanksgiving in demand for Norcan, a drug that counters the effect of a heroin overdose, News4's Chris Gordon reported.

Fentanyl is a synthetic morphine substitute that is roughly 100 times more powerful than morphine. It resembles heroin, though it is much more potent, and it has been blamed for dozens of deaths around the U.S.

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