Kent of­fi­cials re­port 1st over­dose death of 2017

Kent County News - - FRONT PAGE - By BROOKE SCHULTZ Stu­dent In­tern

CHESTERTOWN — Kent County has had its first death in 2017 due to a heroin over­dose, ac­cord­ing to Sher­iff John F. Price.

The death oc­curred on May 22 in Rock Hall.

“It’s a tragic, un­for­tu­nate, un­nec­es­sary thing that hap­pened,” Price said in a tele­phone in­ter­view Mon­day. “That’s why we’re do­ing our very best to ad­dress the is­sue with en­force­ment, as well as any in­ter­ven­tion and treat­ment pro­grams that we can make avail­able for folks.”

There have been seven re­ported over­doses in the county this year.

The sta­tis­tics are re­flected on the three signs posted in Rock Hall, Milling­ton and Chestertown.

“We know the signs don’t re­flect a true pic­ture of over­doses in our county be­cause some of these folks are over­dos­ing and then be­ing Nar­can-ed at home by a fam­ily mem­ber or a part­ner,” Price said in a previ- ous in­ter­view.

Nar­can is a nasal spray that stops the ef­fects of an over­dose. It can be ob­tained by pre­scrip­tion from a fam­ily physi­cian.

The signs were in­stalled in De­cem­ber in the towns’ most fre­quented lo­ca­tions, said State’s At­tor­ney Har­ris Mur­phy. The signs are up­dated at the end of each month to re­flect re­ports made to the po­lice and emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices.

They are in­tended as a way to bring aware­ness to the prob­lem, ac­cord­ing to Price.

In 2016, there were five deaths and 19 re­ported over­doses in Kent County. Statewide, there were a to­tal of 1,212 deaths due to heroin and 1,119 due to fen­tanyl, ac­cord­ing to the data re­leased by Mary­land Depart­ment of Health and Men­tal Hy­giene.

On March 1, Gov. Larry Ho­gan de­clared a state of emer­gency in Mary­land in re­sponse to the in­crease in heroin, opi­oid and fen­tanyl use.

In a cer­e­mony at the con­clu­sion the Mary­land Gen­eral As­sem­bly’s 2017 ses­sion, the gov­er­nor signed sev­eral bills in­tended to strengthen the state’s re­sponse to the heroin and opi­oid cri­sis, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease last month.

PHOTO BY TR­ISH MCGEE

Through the first five months of 2017, there were seven re­ported heroin over­doses and one heroin-re­lated death in Kent County. Our pho­to­graph of the sign at the in­ter­sec­tion of state Routes 213 and 291 was taken Mon­day, June 12.

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