More than 2,000 died of drug overdoses in Maryland in 2016

BALTIMORE (AP) - More than 2,000 people died of drug and alcohol overdoses in Maryland last year, an increase of 66 percent over 2015.

Calling the deaths a "grim tide," Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Dennis Schrader said in a statement Thursday that the statistics represent the largest single-year increase ever recorded in Maryland.

Health officials say the biggest increase in fatal overdoses comes among people 55 and older. Those deaths increased five-fold between 2010 and 2016, from 86 to 424.

Eighty-nine percent of all intoxication deaths were opioid-related. Opioids include heroin, prescription opioids, and nonpharmaceutical fentanyl.

Officials say efforts in Maryland to deal with the overdoses include a waiver to Maryland Medicaid to provide substance abuse services with federal Medicaid dollars.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
 

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