This week, state health officials reported that opioid-related deaths in Maryland have decreased over the past year, even as such deaths continue to rise nationally. The decrease is reflected in the state’s Opioid Dashboard, which shows that in the 12-month period ending in June 2022, there were 11.4% fewer fatal overdoses in Maryland compared to the 12-month period ending in June 2021.
Previously, the data had showed that opioid-related deaths were continuing to increase in Maryland, albeit at a far slower pace than the national average. As the Dashboard shows, much of the decrease is taking place in Baltimore and the surrounding counties, where OSI-Baltimore has focused much of its overdose-prevention work.
Below is a partial list of OSI interventions that helped to reduce overdose deaths in Baltimore and around the state:
- Providing general support to organizations providing harm reduction services, like Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition and Charm City Care Connection, giving them the flexibility to buy naloxone or other harm reduction resources they could not buy with restricted funding.
- Working to expand syringe service programs across the state–they have increased from one in 2016 to at least 22 now.
- Introducing drug checking, which lets people who use drugs test them to know what they contain, to public health officials in Baltimore and around the state
- Successfully advocating for expansion of Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law to better protect people who use drugs and seek aid during an overdose
- Overseeing successful implementation of federal and state parity laws to require insurance carriers to provide robust options for in-network mental health and substance use treatment providers
- Supporting organizations like National Coalition on Alcohol and Drug Dependency-Maryland and Maryland Peer Advisory Council that work to educate drug treatment providers on harm reduction and infuse harm reduction principles into treatment programs
For further information, review these reports, which document OSI’s efforts, in collaboration with the Baltimore City Health Department and others, to reduce opioid addiction and overdose deaths: