The Mayor’s Heroin Treatment and Prevention Task Force today called for 10 bold steps to attack the city’s epidemic heroin and opioid addiction, including having 24/7 “treatment on demand” for substance users and a public education campaign to encourage treatment and combat stigma. Convened by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in October 2014, the Task Force was co-chaired by Bernard J. McBride, CEO Behavioral Health System Baltimore, and Dr. Samuel Ross, CEO of Bon Secours Baltimore Health System, and was comprised of 35 community leaders, public health experts and government representatives.
There were 303 total drug and alcohol overdose deaths in Baltimore City in 2014, compared with 246 in 2013, a 23 percent increase. Last year, 192 overdose deaths were heroin-related, compared with 150 in 2013. There are an estimated 18,900 individuals who use heroin in Baltimore.