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Fentanyl and Cocaine-Related Deaths Continue to Rise; Heroin and Prescription Opioid-Related Deaths Continue to Show Decline

October 12th, 2018 by WCBC Radio

The Maryland Department of Health today released data for unintentional drug and alcohol-related intoxication deaths through the second quarter of 2018. During this six-month period, which encompasses January through June of 2018, there were 1,325 total unintentional intoxication deaths, a 12 percent increase over the same period in 2017. Of these, 1,185 were opioid-related deaths in the state, including 1,038 fentanyl-related deaths. The numbers are encouraging locally with Allegany County showing 9 fewer overdose deaths through June of this year as compared to 2017.

Overdose deaths involving fentanyl continue to increase at an alarming pace. More than three-quarters of all overdose deaths in 2018 involved fentanyl, a trend that has continued since the first quarter of 2017, when the number of fentanyl-related deaths first exceeded the number of heroin-related deaths.


Cocaine-related deaths also continue to rise. Comparing the period January through June for 2016 and 2017, the number of cocaine-related deaths increased 47 percent. Data for the same period of 2018 shows a 54 percent increase over 2017. The increase in cocaine-related deaths can be attributed to cocaine combined with opioids, which were found in 90 percent of cocaine-related deaths so far in 2018. Cocaine-related deaths now outpace heroin-related deaths, making cocaine the second most prevalent drug among overdose deaths.

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