As the opioid crisis continues with few signs of slowing down, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that 2018 data showed opioid overdoses were claiming the lives of more than 100 Americans per day.
Unfortunately, Baltimore and Maryland as a whole are suffering the effects of the opioid epidemic, with significant jumps in the number of heroin-related deaths and opioid overdoses in general.
In 2018, roughly 90 percent of all overdose deaths in Maryland were related to opioids, which totalled 2,087 that year. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl were involved in 90 percent of opioid deaths in 2018 and totalled 1,825, an increase from the year before.
Baltimore is at the forefront of these substance abuse issues, as the largest city in Maryland with a population of more than 620,000 accounting for about 10 percent of the state’s population. As such, for a real change in substance abuse treatment to be initiated in the state, action needs to start in Baltimore. Learn more about the need for drug rehab in Baltimore.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Baltimore ranks second in the nation in heroin-related death rates in cities with populations greater than 400,000, with an estimated 10 percent of the city’s population currently struggling with heroin use disorders.
Maryland has struggled with heroin use issues for more than 50 years. According to a report from news station WJLA, the corridor along Interstates 70 and 81, which begins in Baltimore, is locally known as “Heroin Highway.” It is used to move drugs in the Baltimore area, which has reported a fivefold increase in deaths related to heroin use between 2010 and 2016.
Finally, in 2017, former Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence Sheridan relayed the troubling statistic that Baltimore County had seen 13 homicides, 16 traffic-related fatalities, and in contrast, 119 overdose deaths.
The extremely dangerous and incredibly potent opioid analog fentanyl has also played a role in Baltimore substance abuse. Of the nearly 700 drug and alcohol-related overdose deaths in Baltimore in 2016, more than half of them were due, at least in part, to the presence of fentanyl.
In 2015, Leana Wen, formerly an emergency room physician, was appointed to the position of Baltimore Public Health Commissioner and instituted a standing prescription for the opioid overdose reversal drug Narcan to every Baltimore resident.
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Since then, between 2015 and late 2017, more than 17,000 people have been trained to administer Narcan, and it has saved nearly 1,000 lives within the city. The initiative has been referred to as the Staying Alive Program, and in 2016 alone, more than 10,000 people were trained on how to properly use Narcan. Nearly 9,000 kits were dispensed, and almost 450 overdoses were reported as reversed, saving lives.
Successful, effective substance abuse treatment must take a multifaceted approach to substance use disorders. It must address and treat every aspect of an individual’s addiction, which includes the psychological and physical parts as well.
Those who enter a drug rehab program treatment can start with detoxification, a process that involves medical treatment to address the physical symptoms of withdrawal. It may also involve psychotherapy options like individual and group therapy.
Over the course of a person’s addiction recovery treatment program, they will generally begin at the highest and most intensive level of care and then. As they progress, they move toward less intensive treatment modalities.
Jennifer Donelan and Dwayne Myers, A. (2016, July 19). Heroin Highway: Part 1 'Baltimore,' Let's start at the beginning. Retrieved from https://wjla.com/features/hooked-on-heroin/heroin-highway-part-1-baltimore-lets-start-at-the-beginning
Substance Use and Misuse. (2017, September 07). Retrieved from https://health.baltimorecity.gov/programs/substance-abuse
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, July). Treatment and Recovery from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, June 10). Opioid Overdose Crisis. Retrieved July 13, 2020, from https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis