Tri-county area sees a decline in opiate-related deaths

"It's amazing that our community is actually being affected in a positive way," says Jessica Taylor, a Program Director for Wicomico County Health Dept. 

The reaction is sincere and the numbers are in. The state of Maryland is highlighting a positive change for Delmarva and it comes in the form of the most recent data. 

The 3rd Quarter 2017 Overdose Statistics show, compared to the same time period in 2016, that opioid-related deaths were down 25 percent in Somerset County, 33 percent in Worcester, and 42 percent in Wicomico.

Numbers that suggest local formulas to tackle the epidemic are working. 

"I think we're very fortunate to live in a community where so many different agencies, community groups, law enforcement. Everyone is coming together and trying to work together and say what can we do together as a community to fix this," explains Mike Trader, Assistant Director for Worcester County's Behavioral Health Dept. 

They believe more services and resources for prevention, education, and treatment is another factor, especially Worcester and Wicomico's peer support workers. 

"These are folks who are really good at sort of engaging in, getting involved with folks who are struggling with addiction because they've been there themselves. These are folks who've been through their own journey with addiction and can come and say, you know, 'I've lived it and I understand what you're going through and let's try and get things back on track and give hope where maybe there isn't a lot of hope,'" says Trader.

Wicomico's peer support workers also known as COAT linked 183 individuals to treatment from June 2016 to 2017.

"We also have our COAT team which has been amazing with just spreading the word and decreasing the stigma. Touching the lives of people who struggle with addiction, so they have a 54 percent success rate of linking people to treatment," explains Taylor. 

These efforts, along with Naloxone, are only going to be continued, especially since there are numbers proving they just might be working. 

"What we don't want to do is read this and think 'okay, we're doing good we can back off now.' It's the opposite for us. It's continuing to push forward, putingt our heads down and continuing to grow partnerships in the community and continue to improve growth in services that are being offered to the folks that need it," explains Trader.

Wicomico County is continuing their community forums to educate individuals and families in the community about addiction and the treatment available. 

They also provide free Naloxone training every month at the Wicomico County public library. 

But for those outside of Wicomico County, there are other resources available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

If you're struggling with addiction or if you know anyone who's struggling with addiction and you aren't sure where to turn, call 211.

"211 has the resources the information to help link those folks to the right programs the right resources and make sure they know where to turn and that they have a next step to go to," says Trader. 

Categories: Local News, Maryland