January sees 9 drug overdose deaths in Cecil County

Posted at 1:44 PM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-07 18:40:34-05

Nine people died of overdoses in Cecil County during the month of January.

While a medical examiner hasn’t confirmed each cause of death, heroin was present at every scene, officials said. 

So far this year, the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office responded to 59 non-fatal overdoses.

“Each one of these was preventable,” officials said on Facebook.

Last year, 22 heroin overdose deaths were reported in Cecil County from January to September 2016.


It's a dark cloud that's hanging over Elkton. 

"What we may be seeing here in Cecil County is something far worse than we have ever seen before," Stephanie Garrity, the health officer for the county, said. 

She says the number of heroin-related deaths in the county is growing. 

"One death is upsetting and we want to make sure that that never happens again, but we're dealing with a discouragement and we really have to focus on that," she said. 

While numbers haven't been confirmed by the chief medical examiner, investigators say the number of fatal overdoses where heroin has been present is up to ten for the year. 

"The anecdotal that we get from our local law enforcement and our local emergency responders say that they probably are," Garrity said. 

Major George Stanko says the heroin his investigators find at scenes are laced with Fentanyl -- an opioid that's used to treat severe pain. 

"There's a lot of other substances being put into the heroin these days. It's a nationwide problem  much more deadly."

Deputies are not only trying to find help for addicts, but also the source of the heroin. 

"Our source and supply tends to be Wilmington and Philadelphia. They're packaged a little differently. They even stamped it with advertisement logos," Stanko said. 
Logos and nicknames the county is taking note of, but Stanko says he wants to prevent the drugs from getting into people's hands. 
"You only get to try it once. Certain substances you try it once and you're going to die. You  don't get to try it again. There's no chance for survival," he said. 
A grim reality Stephanie wants to help stop with advertisements, education and overdose reversing products. 
"I think that it's really important that Naloxone be included in all of our messages, in terms of overdose prevention," Garrity said. 
According to the sheriff's office, deputies have responded to nearly 60 related drug overdose that weren't fatal. 
The health department is urging anyone who's battling addiction to visit several websites to help. 
Click here to visit

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