Maryland sees increase in heroin-related drug overdoses
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland had a 33 percent increase in drug overdose deaths in the first quarter of this year.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a new report on Thursday that shows the increase over the same period last year is being driven by fentanyl-laced heroin.
The report says there were 252 total drug overdose deaths from January to March, and 148 are related to heroin.
The state also has seen a big increase in heroin-related emergency department visits in recent years. There were 1,200 in Maryland last year, compared to 871 in 2012.
Gov. Martin O'Malley created a state Overdose Prevention Council last month to address the rising problem.
The O'Malley administration has set a goal of reducing overdose deaths by 20 percent by 2015.