Sheriff Adams seeks employee to track heroin data
— Heroin is a growing and deadly problem in Cecil County and across the country, but authorities lack the up-todate data needed to properly analyze and respond to the epidemic, Cecil County Sheriff Scott Adams told the county council Tuesday.
“The problem with all these reports is the data is old,” Adams said, pointing out that most recent reports have data only through 2014. “We’re looking at trends we already know are outdated. It’s a huge issue.”
In light of that, Adams explained there’s grant funding available through the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention to hire a Heroin Coordinator to enter all drug investigation, seizure, arrest and opioid overdoses into a database daily to be shared through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area network.
Data entry will comprise about 75 percent of the job, while the other 25 percent will be analysis for the jurisdiction and examination of information provided by
“Numbers for overdose deaths are higher in the Mid-Atlantic region,” Ad- ams said, noting that West Virginia has the highest numbers in the country.
Starting in late 2013, sev- eral states reported spikes in overdose deaths due to fentanyl, according to a recent DEA report.
“We aren’t seeing a big spike in fentanyl here,” Adams said, though he explained fentanyl is very toxic and small amounts can be deadly.
“Dealers are mixing fentanyl with heroin because they can make more money,” Adams said. Elephant tranquilizers are also being mixed in.
“They are 10,000 times stronger than morphine,” he said. “We also learned they are starting to put fentanyl into tablet form, which is very scary.”
The goal, he explained is to create a national drug early-warning system.
“It’s imperative we start to get real time data,” Adams said. “We need to be better and quicker to make a difference.”
Adams said a lot of improvement has taken place, but the problem isn’t going away.
“We are saving people with Narcan, but it’s just a band aid,” she said. “They still need to get treatment.”
The 2015 state profile on substance abuse released this spring showed Maryland reported 42,891 visits to the emergency room and inpatient admissions that involved opioids, benzodiazepines and/or heroin in 2014.
“We’re probably never going to stop this altogether,” Adams said, “But we have to do a better job.”
Cecil County Sheriff Scott Adams discusses the need for current data on drug arrests and overdoses.