On Pills and Needles: Maryland's opioid crisis | WYPR

On Pills and Needles: Maryland's opioid crisis

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999 nationally.  In Maryland, a rapidly increasing overdose rate caused Governor Larry Hogan to declare a state of emergency in 2015 and again in March 2017.  In the series On Pills and Needles: Maryland’s Opioid Epidemic, WYPR's Rachel Baye examines how the state handles the crisis and what may lie ahead.

Rachel Baye

The Baltimore City Health Department is getting a new $200,000 grant from the Open Society Institute – Baltimore to aid in the fight against opioid overdoses, city Health Commissioner Leana Wen announced Monday. The money is slated to pay for real-time alerts about overdose spikes and new community engagement efforts.

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Last year, 157 people in Maryland died from overdoses of Oxycodone, a prescription narcotic.

Rachel Baye

Sixty-four-year old Johnnie Davis has been treating his heroin addiction at the Bon Secours New Hope Treatment Center in West Baltimore for nearly 20 years.

“When I came here, I didn’t have no insurance,” he said. “And if I wasn’t here, I could imagine where my life would have turned because I was known for drugs — selling drugs.”