Fentanyl and Opioid Deaths Hit Record in Maryland

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.

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