Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford discusses current state of opioid epidemic in Maryland

WORCESTER CO., Md. – Maryland Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford (R) paid a visit to Worcester County on Tuesday to address the state’s opioid crisis.

Preliminary numbers suggest opioid related deaths went down in the first quarter of 2019.

Lt. Gov Rutherford said, “Hopefully this is a pattern and we will continue to see the numbers decrease.”

That number may have gone down due to the hard work of local universities like the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Salisbury University.

Dr. James Bresette, a UMES Representative said, “We’ve got to be good neighbors, especially as a state supported school. The opioid issue is so big, how could we not be a part of it?”

Both Universities have been doing things like: increasing awareness about substance abuse, explaining to people the dangers of addiction, connecting the public to resources and training people how to recognize an overdose and how to administer Narcan.

Dr. Bresette said, “We know we are making a difference. We’ve seen it. We’ve heard the stories of people in the community.”

Unfortunately, Lt. Gov. Rutherford says the number of opioid overdose deaths could go back up in the blink of an eye despite the hard work of state workers and universities.

Lt. Governor Rutherford said, “There could be any issues that come up, ranging from a surge of Fentanyl coming into a community, or just a particularly strong batch of heroin that could come in and then we see the numbers spike.”

So the state will remain focused on prevention and education efforts in the years to come.

Lt. Gov. Rutherford said, “We’re hopeful that the efforts we have been making for the last four and a half years and whats going on at the local levels is making a difference and we pray that it will continue.”

Overall, the preliminary numbers suggest we saw 86 less deaths in the first quarter of this year than last year.

If you know someone who is suffering from substance abuse disorder, or you yourself are suffering, getting help is easy. Just dial 211, then press 1, and you will be connected with the resources you may need.

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