First quarter 2014, heroin deaths in Baltimore: 14. In 2015, the number spiked to 39.
Reason: a lot of heroin is now being laced with fentanyl, a much more potent and deadly drug.
“Fentanyl-laced heroin is killing individuals in our city,” Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner, said in a statement. “Nearly every day in Baltimore, one person dies from drug overdose. This is a public health emergency. It is our obligation to educate and save lives.”
City officials formed a Mayor’s Heroin Prevention and Treatment Task Force earlier this year to stem overdose deaths, which have been surging.
Maryland health officials also have formed a task force and members have been visiting all corners of the city to learn about the problem. And officials from around the country report similar problems in fentanyl and overdoses.
This is not a Baltimore problem, or even a state problem at this point. It’s a national problem, and all levels of government must be harnessed to help address it.
And the next politician who says we need tougher criminal drug laws gets sent to their room with no dinner.