Deaths related to fentanyl and opioids have surged in Maryland.
The Maryland Department of Health released on Thursday preliminary reports of drug- and alcohol-related deaths, comparing data from the first quarter of 2018 to previous years.
The report estimates there were 579 opioid-related deaths in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the 482 deaths in the same quarter last year, marking a 20 percent increase.
Fentanyl-related deaths in 2018 jumped to 500, from 371 deaths in the first quarter of 2017. The 500 deaths in 2018 is about 31 percent of the 1,594 total fentanyl-related deaths last year.
The health department said that fentanyl in combination with heroin or cocaine is driving the increase.
Heroin-related deaths dropped from 291 deaths to 236 deaths this year.
On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor granted Maryland $1.9 million for the state's recovery fund. Maryland ranks higher than the national average of drug-related overdose deaths.