City of Frederick witnesses increase in opioid-related overdoses in 2018

I-270

In 2017, the number of opioid overdoses in the City of Frederick stood at about 124.

Now with the rise of fentanyl, 2018 has witnessed more overdoses and deaths.

“It’s so potent in causing fatalities. Our fatality rate is going up, not down,” explained heroin coordinator for the Frederick Police Department, Mark Burack.

According to Burack, 146 overdoses were reported this year throughout the city.

And the number of deaths have also increased from 2017.

 “We’ve have eight more fatalities this year than last year. We’re at 25 in the City of Frederick versus 17 last year.”

Officials credit much of the increase in overdoses, and record number of Narcan uses, to the rise in popularity of fentanyl.

“Last year we first started, we started to see a drop. By the summer I think we were down about 20 percent in 2017, but then fentanyl came into the picture. Fentanyl has substantially increased overdoses as well as fatal overdoses due to its potency,” Burack explained.

According to the department, 191 doses of Narcan were administered by officers and EMS in 2018. Last year, 152 doses were administered.

Police say a map of overdoses throughout the city shows a concentration of overdoses along Route-40 West, downtown Frederick and along I-270 and I-70. 

“We work really hard to get the dealers, especially in our unit. We’ll focus on some of the mid-to-higher level dealers in the city; our biggest issue right now is people can drive 45-minutes to Baltimore and pick up a cap for six bucks,” explained supervisor for the Frederick Police Department Drug Enforcement Unit,  Sgt. Reed Preece

The network of highways that lead to Baltimore make it easier for drugs to travel in and out of the city. But officials say they’re hopeful for a possible detox center and further education will help reduce overdoses in 2019.

“Prevention that really is, in my opinion, the most important. Let’s not get people started on it in the first place. Prevention can take place in the schools, take place in the home by having conversations with your children,” Burack said.

Officials say opioid uses in the city are predominately white males between the ages of 21 and 40.

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