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Record number of opioid overdose deaths in Anne Arundel County

Posted at 5:44 PM, Dec 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-12 17:44:29-05

Anne Arundel County reached a record number of deadly opioid overdoses this year.  So far this year 142 people have died from opioid overdoses. 119 people died last year.

"It's a fight that everybody's fighting and we are throwing everything we have at it," said Lt. Ryan Frashure with Anne Arundel County Police.

"We knew that this drug is so dangerous. It's not going to be a sprint. It's going to be a marathon to start seeing some positive outcomes."

In an effort to fight the epidemic, the county has initiated several new programs this year.

The first part of the approach is education and that begins with kids in elementary school

The county is working to bring back the D.A.R.E program or Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It is an education program that seeks to prevent use of controlled drugs, membership in gangs, and violent behavior.

The second part of the approach is prevention and Chief Tim Altomare says his department has put more officers and resources toward the opioid problem including a 5 person unit dedicated to overdose deaths. 

This also helps prosecutors catch and charge those who are dealing the drugs.

The third approach is intervention. In April, Anne Arundel County started the Safe Station program. It allows addicts to come to a fire station and ask for help. Since it was implemented, 350 people have used it.