HEALTH

Maryland heroin overdoses increase 54 percent in 2012

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Health officials say heroin-related deaths in Maryland increased by 54 percent from 2011 to 2012.

The health department released a report on Wednesday with the findings. Heroin-related overdose deaths increased from 245 in 2011 to 378 in 2012, after having declined 36 percent between 2007 and 2011.

The health department says deaths related to prescription drugs like oxycodone and methadone dropped 12 percent from 2011 and 2012.

Last fall, the health department issued a public alert on the rise in heroin overdoses.

The department has directed all Maryland counties and Baltimore to develop overdose response plans. Several jurisdictions will hold meetings next month to discuss efforts to address alcohol and drug overdoses with law enforcement and public health authorities. Gov. Martin O'Malley is scheduled to attend one meeting in Elkton.

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