Heroin: From Shore to Shore, Maryland’s Black Plague of Death

Aug 2014 front page middle Chesapeake TodayAug 2014 front page middle Chesapeake Today

 

By Ken Rossignol

THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY

DENTON, MD. — Heroin, the home wrecker, the heart-stopper, the black ice. For some, the final door to hell.

Maryland officials are scrambling statewide to find a way to reduce heroin use and the crescendo of overdose deaths linked to heroin and to that of a new/old synthetic drug called Molly, which killed two young people at a traveling dope show held last weekend at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md.

One particularly dangerous version of the toxic drug is a fentanyl-laced heroin.

Heroin was once the province of junkies in the inner city — desperate and degraded, shooting up in alleys and tenements of major cities.

Now the soon to be dead are young people, adding heroin to their buffet line of recreational drugs.

Law enforcement officials throughout Maryland, in Anne Arundel, Southern Maryland, Frederick and on the Eastern Shore are holding community meetings to stress to parents how this drug has evolved from the poor side of big cities into suburban and rural homes, schools and workplaces.

Frederick County had twenty-one heroin deaths in 2013, sending officials back on their heels trying to get a handle on the explosion.

The State of Maryland’s health secretary announced a new plan to get the heroin antidote naloxone to first responders and police for overdose cases.

“This campaign is aimed at family, friends and community members,” Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the secretary of health and mental hygiene, said in a news release. “Being able to identify and quickly respond to an overdose by dialing 9-1-1 and administering naloxone, if trained, will save lives.”

One such official who is attempting to turn back the tide of this dreaded drug onslaught into his community is Caroline County States Attorney Jonathan G. Newell.

Newell has been the county’s elected prosecutor since 2002 and during that time the character and nature of the drug culture has taken a wide shift.

Evolving in once-remote areas such as St. Mary’s County, where Sheriff’s Narco Squad Commander Capt. Dan Alioto has been leading effective but uphill investigations targeting heroin, to Caroline County, on the opposite side of the Chesapeake Bay both officials face virtually identical dilemmas in combating the spread and marketing on the new versions of sometimes almost instant death.

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