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Overdose Deaths In Maryland Accelerated During The Pandemic

Naloxone can be used to reverse an opioid overdose.
Jeff Anderson
Flicker Creative Commons
Naloxone can be used to reverse an opioid overdose.

More than 2,700 Marylanders died from fatal drug and alcohol overdoses last year--a record death toll forced up by the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl. Steve Schuh, director of the Opioid Operational Command Center, says state and local agencies have been working around the pandemic’s hurdles to keep providing treatment:

"We’re using telehealth, we’re using mail-order distribution of naloxone, and we are allowing people who are on medication assisted treatment to obtain 30 days' worth of their medication, so they don’t have to return to the medical practice to obtain refills.”

Schuh describes who is at greatest risk, and how Maryland is coordinating its response to this alarming increase.

Read the OOCC's 2020 Annual Report here.

Maureen Harvie is Senior Supervising Producer for On the Record. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and joined WYPR in 2014 as an intern for the newsroom. Whether coordinating live election night coverage, capturing the sounds of a roller derby scrimmage, interviewing veterans, or booking local authors, she is always on the lookout for the next story.
Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Melissa Gerr is a Senior Producer for On the Record. She started in public media at Twin Cities Public Television in St. Paul, Minn., where she is from, and then worked as a field producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland. She made the jump to audio-lover in Baltimore as a digital media editor at Mid-Atlantic Media and Laureate Education, Inc. and as a field producer for "Out of the Blocks." Her beat is typically the off-beat with an emphasis on science, culture and things that make you say, 'Wait, what?'