Maryland, a state that already had one of the country's most punishing overdose mortality rates, notched a record-high number of drug deaths last year. The grim milestone was fueled by an alarming increase of fentanyl-related fatalities.

14 Aug 2018

Despite renewed efforts to beat back the opioid epidemic, newly released figures from Maryland's health department show there were 2,282 intoxication deaths in 2017. Nearly 90 percent of those deaths were opioid-related, particularly the powerful, cheap synthetic forms that have been sweeping across America amid the nation's worst-ever drug crisis.

Fentanyl is the driving force behind Maryland's all-time high number of fatalities, which increased from 1,119 in 2016 to a 1,594 in 2017. That's an upsurge of some 42 percent over the span of a year. The large majority of those deaths occurred in Baltimore.


"It's terrifying that we're at a point where the numbers escalate every year. We don't even know where the peak is," said Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore's health commissioner.

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