by Lisa Tome
Between July 2013 and February 2014, 21 people died from drug overdose in Cecil County.
Last week, Karl Webner, a member of the Local Overdose Fatality Review Team, described those whose lives were lost to overdose.
Of the 21 people who died, 16 were males and five were female. They ranged in age from 24-75. The median age was 41 years old. By location, 11 of those who died due to overdose lived in Elkton. There were three from Rising Sun and two from North East. There was one person each from Port Deposit, Warwick, Conowingo, Perryville, and one was from Baltimore City.
Of those who died, 10 used heroin. Seven had alcohol in their system. Five died with opiates, three used cocaine, three used benzodiazepines, three used prescription medications, one used over the counter medication, and two used methadone. In that latter category, one of those was using prescribed methadone.
Four of the deaths were by heroin intoxication only. Three of the deaths were due to alcohol solely.
In 11 of the cases, there was a combination of substances. In seven of the instances, alcohol was named the primary or contributing substance.
The review team also concluded that in two of the instances, the victim's insurance carrier became a barrier to treatment.
The Local Overdose Fatality Review Team consists of 23 people from 18 agencies and organizations in the county. The mission of the group is to review the overdose fatalities, find gaps in programs, and work to prevent future overdoses.
The members of the committee represent Union Hospital, local police agencies, pharmacies, the Department of Emergency Services, and others.
In other business from the September 25 Cecil County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council meeting:
• April Foster and Carrie Miller shared the mission of their volunteer resource group STEPS Recovery Resources, Inc.
• The group The Addict's Mom is also offering help for families impacted by addiction.
• Pastor Phil Meekins introduced the panel to The Monarch House. Monarch House offers those in recovery counseling, community service opportunities, and more. New Beginnings Christian Fellowship is also offering Celebrate Recovery programs once a week and will likely expand to seven days a week.
• Recovery Centers of America will open for business at Grove Neck Road, Earleville. They will offer 50 beds, detox, and short term residential care for addicts in 2015.
Ken Collins, Special Assistant to the County Executive for Drug Policy, said this facility will be similar to Father Martin's Ashley in Harford County.
• Collins offered information regarding overdose response activities. More than 220 police law enforcement officers working in Cecil County, which includes an overdose response kit with the overdose antidote, naloxone, have received training. Additionally, 212 individuals have completed the course. Collins said that six lives have been saved due to the training.
John Bennett, chair of the DAAC said that the large number of presenters is a "very good sign".
He said it's a good time to become part of the drug abuse solution.