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Diane Park - Friday, February 20, 2015

Opioid use disorders and opioid overdose are growing problems in the United States and, specifically, Maryland. Some examples of opioids include oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl, codeine, and heroin. The vast majority of these agents are obtained when patients’ prescriptions are shared, sold, or stolen. However, some opioids are produced on the street, such as heroin and non-pharmaceutical branded formulations. These latter agents often contain a mixture of unspecified ingredients at varying quantities which can put the consumer at risk for drug interactions and overdoses.

Based on recently released data, deaths from drug intoxication are occurring throughout the state with the highest incidences in Baltimore City and areas of Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Cecil, and Washington counties. The majority of Marylanders dying from drug overdoses are middle-aged. However, based on 2012 Maryland data, there was a 53% increase in heroin-related overdoses in those between the ages of 15 and 24 compared to the previous year.

Individuals who overdose on opioids may experience any of the following symptoms: sleepiness, difficulty awakening, fingernails or lips turning blue, skin grey/clammy, slowed heartbeat, reduced blood pressure, and/or slowed, shallow, or no breathing. It is the respiratory depression (slowed or lack of breathing) which can result in death. Naloxone, rescue breathing, and fast medical assistance are the keys to surviving an opioid overdose.

Naloxone, an opioid antagonist, is given as an antidote for opioid overdose. Naloxone works by blocking the effects of the opioids and allows a person to begin breathing again. Rescue breathing is where someone provides external breaths for an individual who has stopped breathing to increase the oxygen circulating throughout the bloodstream.

Starting in 2014, Maryland began offering opioid overdose response programs for community members throughout the state. After completing a 90- to 120-minute training, a friend, family member, or associate can become certified to administer Naloxone and rescue breathing in the event of an opioid overdose. The table below provides a list of locations that offer certification training for community members.

If you want to provide feedback on your experience with finding a local certification program, please contact Erica Davis at

Download the statewide overdose trends fact sheet

Download the Maryland overdose data maps

Location  Training Entity Information Telephone 
Allegany County Allegany County Health Department 301-759-5050
Anne Arundel County Anne Arundel County Health Department* 410-222-0104
Baltimore City Baltimore Student Harm Reduction Coalition* 609-297-7567
  Behavioral Health System Baltimore* 410-637-1900
  Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, Somatic Health Division* 410-230-3217
Baltimore County Baltimore County Department of Health 410-887-2773
  Daniel Carl Torsch Foundation, Inc.* 443-554-6150
Caroline County Caroline County Department of Health 410-887-2773
Carroll County Carroll County Health Department  410-876-4800
Cecil County Cecil County Health Department* 443-245-3785
Dorchester County Dorchester County Health Department
Frederick County Frederick County Health Department* 301-600-3459
Garrett County Garrett County Health Department
Harford County Harford County Health Department*
  Maryland Recovery 410-838-3442
Howard County Howard County Health Department* 410-313-6202
Kent County Kent County Health Department* 410-778-6404
Montgomery County Montgomery County Health Department
Prince George's County Prince George's County Health Department 301-883-7834
Somerset County Somerset County Health Department
Washington County Washington County Health Department* 240-313-3260
Wicomico County Wicomico County Health Department 410-543-6930
Worcester County Worcester County Health Department 410-632-1100

* Children/adolescents <18 years old can attend, but are not eligible for certification

† Attendance restricted to county residents only

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