Deputies in­ves­ti­gat­ing two sus­pected overdose deaths

Record Observer - - News - By ANGLEA PRICE bay­times@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — The Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice is in­ves­ti­gat­ing two sus­pi­cious deaths that oc­curred some­time early Sun­day morn­ing, May 21, in­side a res­i­dence in the 300-block of Creek­side Com­mons Court. The deaths ap­pear to be drug re­lated and over­doses are sus­pected, po­lice said.

Deputies re­sponded to the re­port of a de­ceased male at 1:36 p.m. and found An­thony Ge­orge Reno, 21, dead in the din­ing room; they also found Car­son David Freed­man, 21, dead in an up­stairs bed­room.

Var­i­ous drug para­pher­na­lia was found near both bod­ies, po­lice said. The bod­ies were sent to the State Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner’s Of­fice in Bal­ti­more for au­top­sies. Deputies also seized an un­known type of drug found at the scene for test­ing.

Sher­iff Gary Hof­mann said po­lice sus­pect heroin but don’t know what it may have been laced with, and there were also trace amounts of co­caine found.

“This was not a nor­mal sub­stance,” he said.

The deaths will be clas­si­fied as “sus­pi­cious” un­til po­lice get the au­top­sies and the tox­i­col­ogy re­port back on the sub­stance and con­clude their in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Hof­mann said.

Queen Anne’s County has the third low­est rate of overdose deaths in the state, but there were three over­doses in the county last week­end, Hof­mann said.

Deputies re­sponded to the first on Fri­day night in Ch­ester; in that case, the opi­oid an­ti­dote nalox­one was ad­min­is­tered and the per­son re­vived, he said. Reno and Freed­man’s over­doses hap­pened late Satur­day or early Sun­day, and it was too late to ad­min­is­ter an an­ti­dote when they were found.

Hof­mann re­leased a video mes­sage Tues­day invit­ing drug users to con­tact him for help with their ad­dic­tion and is­su­ing a warn­ing to drug deal­ers.

“... heroin and opi­ates lead to death, and that is not some­thing I want your fam­i­lies or your friends to deal with in our com­mu­nity. Death should not be an op­tion. Treat­ment is avail­able,” he tells drug users in the video. He di­rects ad­dicts to a brochure on the sher­iff’s of­fice web­site, queenan­nessh­er­iff.org, for re­sources and even in­vites them to come to the of­fice for as­sis­tance in find­ing treat­ment.

“We are com­ing for you,” he tells the drug deal­ers, list­ing the many al­lied agen­cies work­ing with the Drug Task Force. “... I can as­sure you we will hunt you down, and we will come knock­ing on your door.”

The tim­ing of the video was mere chance, he said. It was filmed by QAC-TV last week, and the edit­ing was fin­ished Mon­day. By Wed­nes­day night, the video had been viewed more than 25,000 times. It’s just an­other weapon in the fight against the grow­ing epi­demic, he said.

“Queen Anne’s County iden­ti­fied the prob­lem three years ago. We could see it com­ing,” Hof­mann said.

Lo­cal deputies were among the first on the East­ern Shore to be trained to ad­min­is­ter nalox­one and to carry it.

The sher­iff’s of­fice has done pre­sen­ta­tions at schools and spo­ken to com­mu­nity groups to try to raise aware­ness.

Hof­mann said big­gest ob­sta­cle they face is at­ti­tude, “It’s not my child,” “They’re a ‘good’ kid,” “That’s not go­ing to hap­pen to me.”

By the time fam­i­lies turn to law en­force­ment for help, it’s usu­ally the last re­sort, he said. He’d like to see them get help sooner. Early in­ter­ven­tion is best, he said.

“Our goal is we are work­ing to­ward zero over­doses. I think we have a long way to go with ed­u­ca­tion, aware­ness and treat­ment,” Hof­mann said.

The sher­iff’s of­fice is plan­ning sev­eral heroin com­mu­nity fo­rums for late sum­mer. Hof­mann said he hopes for a good turn out from con­cerned cit­i­zens.

Con­crete pump trucks pour ce­ment.

Plac­ing burlap soon af­ter the con­crete is fin­ished.

Hand fin­ish­ing along the edges of the con­crete sur­face of the bridge deck.

At sun­rise, work­ers have just a few more hours to go on this por­tion of the project.

SHER­IFF GARY HOF­MANN

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