A Carroll County community is recovering from the shock of seeing seven drug overdoses in two hours Friday afternoon. All were sent to area hospitals.
County health officials could not say if anyone died as a result, but they want to do something about it.
According to officials, within the past two or three years, drug-related deaths have risen.
Near Route 140 and Route 97 in Westminster, a person was found unconscious after falling victim to a drug overdose. Between 10 a.m. and noon, six more would follow, according to Ed Singer, health officer for the Caroll County Health Department.
"It seems like there's an extremely deadly form of drug out there on the street," Singer said. "I think that's a very high number."
The department can't positively say what the seven people overdosed on, but Singer said it's likely an opioid.
"A couple each month is not uncommon for overdose deaths in Carroll County. The non-fatal overdoses, we're having hundreds of those each year," Singer said.
It's a problem repeated statewide.
The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported more than 1,400 drug overdose deaths from January to September 2016. In Carroll County, they help fight that by placing former addicts at local hospitals, Singer said.
"If somebody's had an overdose, it gives them an opportunity for one of these peers to talk to them about what they've been through and talk to them about seeking treatment," he said.
And merely arresting people who use drugs won't solve the problem, according to Singer. Part of why they sent an "overdose alert" this afternoon, warning of the extra potency of drugs in circulation.
"We've got a lot of tools in our toolbox," said Singer. "We're trying to use the naloxone. We've trained lots of people on that."
In July, the department will have a mobile crisis team that they send out and help people link with treatment services, Singer said.