Howard County offers training to fight heroin, opiod deaths

HOWARD COUNTY, Md. (WJLA) - With heroin and prescription opioid related deaths increasing in Maryland and across the nation, the Howard County Health Department has announced a plan to reduce the deaths in the county.

"Our planned initiatives include a multi-pronged approach to the opioid crisis,” says Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer. “We will conduct outreach to high-risk populations, incorporate overdose prevention education into mental health treatment and implement community naloxone training.”

The health department is offering free Opioid Overdose Response Program trainings for Howard County residents 18 years of age and older who want to become certified to administer naloxone.

The department reports that the heroin and prescription opioid related deaths in Howard County increased by 112.5% from 2010 to 2012 and that when the 2013 statistics come in they are expected to be even higher.

“There are measurable goals and outcomes to monitor our progress. We are hopeful we will change the tide of near-fatalities and fatalities in Howard County," Rossman says.

A major part of the prevention plan is the Opioid Overdose Response Program, which uses naloxone to reverse the effects of opioids and restart the central nervous system functions. Among the most prevalent opioids are heroin, hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycontin.

For more information and to register for the program, call 410-313-6202.