Opioid use, fentanyl deaths in Maryland spike amid pandemic

Preliminary data from 2020 reveals a dramatic increase in deaths linked with opioids in Maryland, particularly fentanyl; health officials blame the pandemic.

The number of unintentional intoxication overdoses — those involving all drugs and alcohol — rose 18.7% to 2,773 in 2020 from 2,379 in 2019, according to data collected by the Maryland Department of Health.

In more than 90% of cases, opioids were detected in bodies postmortem, the highest rate recorded in the state’s history of collecting this data.

While too early to formally determine the extent to which COVID-19  has influenced this increase, experts agree the pandemic is likely to blame for the widespread increase in drug use.

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