Sher­iff Adams seeks em­ployee to track heroin data

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By CH­ERYL MATTIX

cmat­tix@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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

ELK­TON

HIDTA.

“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 WHIG PHOTO BY CH­ERYL MATTIX

Ce­cil County Sher­iff Scott Adams dis­cusses the need for cur­rent data on drug ar­rests and over­doses.

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