Kent officials report 1st overdose death of 2017
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.
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.