Jun. 11—Opioid overdoses in the city of Frederick have largely remained steady between 2020 and 2021, according to a report Frederick Police Department Heroin Coordinator Mark Burack presented to the Frederick County Substance Abuse Council this week.
There were 48 calls for service for opioid overdoses to FPD between July 2020 and May 2021, compared to 46 in the same period the year before. FPD recorded nine fatal overdoses in the city, all of which were fentanyl-related.
The report also noted an increase in packaging fentanyl in combination with other drugs, in addition to the use of xylazine as a cutting agent with fentanyl. Xylazine is a veterinary drug that can cause significant skin and nasal ulcers in humans. Additionally, there has been an increase of counterfeit oxycodone tablets containing fentanyl in drug overdoses and drug seizures.
The city is still seeing overdoses involving K2, a synthetic drug designed to mimic THC, the active component in cannabis. Also called "Spice," this drug has resulted in 29 calls for service for overdoses between January and May 31 in 2021.
Over the current fiscal year (July 2020 to May 2021), the health department was able to contact 58 percent of overdose victims, according to the report. Of those 49 individuals, 82 percent received harm reduction counseling, and Narcan training, and were connected to treatment.
Narcan was used in 75 percent of overdoses between January and May 31, 2021, compared to 84 percent in the same period in 2020. The decrease may indicate a need for more Narcan training within the community, the report said.
Victim demographics have also remained largely the same so far in 2021, with the exception of age. The majority of users who overdosed this year are between the ages of 26 and 45 years old, compared to 21 to 40 years old, in the same time period last year.
The report states this could indicate success in prevention programs aimed at teenagers and college students.
"[Young people] are not getting into opioids as much," Burack said. "That's a very general statement for a short period of time, so I don't want to hang my hat on that yet."
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