Addiction Rates and Statistics in Baltimore

For many years, high rates of drug use in Baltimore have been linked to violent crimes and poor health for residents of the city.

Hundreds of people die in the city every year due to unintentional drug- and alcohol-related overdoses.

According to the Maryland Department of Health, Baltimore has significantly higher rates of fatal drug overdoses than other parts of the state.

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Fatal Overdose

Fatal overdoses in Baltimore have remained consistently higher than overdoses that occur in other regions of the state since 2007. Drug use trends show an increase in fatal overdoses in Baltimore since 2011, while overdose rates remained relatively stable in other parts of the state.

There were 1,594 Maryland deaths related to fentanyl in 2017. The majority of those deaths occurred in Baltimore City or Baltimore County.

The Baltimore Metro area sees an exponentially higher rate of opioid-related deaths than any other part of the state.

Most Commonly Abused Drugs in Baltimore

In addition to providing statewide data on drug use, the Maryland Department of Health evaluates drug use trends in communities throughout the state.

The most commonly abused drugs in Baltimore in 2017 data are:

  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Prescription opioids
  • Cocaine
  • Oxycodone
  • Methadone
  • Cocaine
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Alcohol

Overall, the total number of fatal drug overdoses of any kind in Maryland in 2017 was 2,282. Of these deaths, 1,128 occurred in Baltimore County or Baltimore City.

Cocaine alone caused 691 fatal overdoses in Maryland, 285 of which were in Baltimore. Benzodiazepines caused 146 fatal overdoses in Maryland, 28 of which were in Baltimore. Alcohol caused 517 fatal overdoses in Maryland, 198 of which were in Baltimore.

Opioids, including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioids, remain the leading cause of fatal overdoses in Baltimore. In Baltimore County and Baltimore City in 2017, 550 deaths were caused by heroin, prescription opioids caused 210 deaths, and 817 deaths were caused by fentanyl.

The Impact of Drug Use in Baltimore

The Baltimore City Health Department has been working hard to tackle the negative impacts of drug use on the Baltimore community. In response to the opioid epidemic, the city has established a three-point strategy to combat this public health crisis. The strategy includes:

  1. Saving lives by expanding access to and use of naloxone, an antidote to an opioid overdose, through various naloxone programs
  2. Increasing access to evidence-based addiction treatment programs, including medication-assisted treatment and social and wraparound services
  3. Fighting the stigma of addiction by providing educational workshops and resources about addiction

The city has initiated efforts to reduce incidents of hepatitis C, HIV, and other blood-borne diseases associated with injection drug use with a program called the Baltimore City Needle Exchange Program. As a major part of community risk reduction, this program reduces the circulation of unclean syringes and connects individuals struggling with substance use disorders to treatment programs and health services.

Finally, the Staying Alive Drug Overdose Prevention and Response Program was established in 2004 as part of a public health initiative to reduce rates of opioid-related overdose deaths. Since the program began, over 34,000 people have been trained in overdose prevention and response, and hundreds of lives have been saved in Baltimore.

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How Does Drug Use in Maryland Compare to the Rest of the Country?

Current drug use statistics from Maryland reflect similar problems of opioid abuse that are occurring across the county. As the data from the Maryland Department of Health shows, opioid drugs being used in combination with other substances are causing significant increases in fatal overdoses.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Maryland is among the top five states in the country with the highest rates of opioid-related overdose deaths. Since 1999, the death rates of opioid overdoses have been above the national average every year, a gap that has widened significantly since 2013. On average, Maryland’s rate of opioid-related overdose deaths has always been one and a half to three times greater than the national rate.

In 2016, the rate of fatal opioid overdoses in Maryland was 30 deaths per 100,000 people. That same year, the national rate was 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people.

Fentanyl is to blame for the most recent spike of fatal overdoses caused by opioids. There were 1,821 total opioid overdose deaths in Maryland in 2016, 650 of which were due to synthetic opioids, and most of these were related to fentanyl.

Heroin and prescription opioids have also been causing a problem throughout the country and in Maryland.

In 2012, 173 overdose deaths in Maryland were due to heroin and 52 were due to prescription opioids. These death rates increased to 650 and 812 respectively in 2016.

Increasing rates of HIV, hepatitis, and neonatal abstinence syndrome are major public health concerns across the country due to rising rates of opioid abuse.

Addiction Treatment Options in Baltimore

If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder in the Baltimore area, there are treatment options available. Treatment centers located in Baltimore include:

  • Glenwood Life Counseling Center. This nonprofit combines medication-assisted treatment with individual, group, and family counseling services to provide comprehensive addiction treatment, including case management, mental health screening, and HIV education and testing.
  • Johns Hopkins Broadway Center for Addiction. This hospital-based program offers comprehensive outpatient treatment services, including medical, psychiatric, and social services, for people with acute or chronic substance use disorders.
  • Reflective Treatment Center. This nonprofit organization is an opiate maintenance therapy and detox treatment facility. Comprehensive treatment services are provided to adults who are dependent on opiates.

In addition to the above treatment centers, Baltimore offers a free Crisis, Information & Referral Line for men, women, and children who are experiencing an urgent need for mental health or substance use treatment. Crisis support, treatment information, and referral services are available through the helpline that is open 24/7 at (410) 433-5175

Start Recovery Today

Addiction is a chronic disease that’s difficult to get over, especially on your own. However, with help, addiction can be treatable, and the right therapies and professionals can lead you to long-lasting recovery and sobriety. To learn more about how addiction treatment can lead you to a life free of active addiction, speak to an addiction treatment specialist at Serenity at Summit.

Call (844) 432-0416 to hear more about the therapy options that might be available to you. Even though addiction is difficult to overcome, you don’t have to go through it on your own. Start your road to recovery today.