Maryland: Heroin Deaths Remain Near Record Levels
February 5, 2001
Maryland officials report that heroin-related deaths stayed near record highs for the year 2000, despite a two-year-old program to fight the drug. The state Medical Examiners office recorded 304 overdose deaths in Baltimore alone, bringing last year's overdose fatality total for the state to 474. According to police, Maryland's efforts to fight heroin abuse have failed because use of the drug has shifted from the inner city to the suburbs, and also because the heroin that is now available is much more potent than what was around 10 years ago. Dr. Shiv Soni, supervisor of the drug analysis unit of the Baltimore Police Department, says that in the past two years, even the lowest grades of heroin have increased from about 4 percent to 14 percent purity, while high-quality heroin is now about 75 percent pure. Baltimore health commissioner Peter L. Bielenson notes that the increased strength of the drug could raise mortality in a number of ways, particularly as new users are drawn to stronger grades of heroin because they can snort or smoke it, instead of using a needle.Adapted from:
Washington Times (www.washtimes.com)
02/05/01 P. C3
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.