—Twice as many people died in 2015 from drug and alcohol overdoses in St. Mary's County as they did in 2014 according to the latest data from the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and there have been four such deaths in the first quarter of 2016 alone.
This puts the county on track to come close to the 18 deaths last year.
Overdose deaths due to drugs or alcohol have increased steadily since 2010 throughout the state, around the time when heroin and opioids experienced a resurgence in popularity as an illicit narcotic.
The first quarter statistics for Maryland show there have already been 383 drug and alcohol related deaths between January and March alone; the total deaths in 2015 reached 1,259 while there were 1,041 in 2014.
For deaths from heroin, the numbers show that St. Mary's might be on track to have more fatalities.
There were six such deaths for all of 2015, just one more than 2014 but there have already been two such deaths in the first three months of 2016 alone here.
Opioid-related, or synthetic heroin, deaths also increased in 2015 compared to 2014 with five deaths and three deaths respectively.
There has already been one death in the first three months of 2016, state figures showed.
Overdose deaths linked to fentanyl, a highly potent pain killer that health officials and law enforcement officers have warned is many times more powerful than heroin, remained steady from 2014 to 2015 with three fatalities; there has already been one recorded death from fentanyl in the first quarter of this year.
Commercially produced and medically controlled fentanyl is dangerous but so is the same substance produced on the street and is unpredictable due to unknown chemicals introduced to it, health officials have stated.
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