Maryland Police Warn Of Deadly Heroin Mix On Eastern Shore | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Maryland Police Warn Of Deadly Heroin Mix On Eastern Shore

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In Maryland, an outbreak of overdoses linked to a deadly opioid has officials on the Eastern Shore ramping up their enforcement and treatment programs.

For the past several years, Salisbury has been battling a huge uptick in violent crime and gang violence. And while declining crime statistics and dozens of arrests and convictions of the city's most violent criminals may seem to indicate Salisbury is turning a corner in the fight against crime, what's driving people to commit crimes now appears to be changing.

"The number one reason we have the crime that we have is Oxycodone and heroin," says Wicomico County State's Attorney Matt Macierello.

Now, a new worry has emerged in recent months: heroin laced with the dangerous opioid fentanyl. Thirty-seven people have died from the tainted drug in the state, and a handful of those overdose deaths have been on the shore.

The Federal Centers for Disease Control says fentanyl is 80 times more powerful than morphine and hundreds of times more powerful than heroin. As a result, the mix of heroin and fentanyl dramatically raises the chances of an overdose.

Maciarello says law enforcement officials and treatment centers are on high alert in the region, as a one-time big city problem has reared its ugly head here on the shore.

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