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Posted on: June 10, 2021

FPD presents heroin, opioid trends to Frederick County Substance Abuse Council

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The Frederick Police Department is deeply committed to combatting the ongoing heroin and opioid epidemic. To do this, the department uses a three-pronged approach to include prevention, enforcement and treatment. 

This week, FPD’s heroin coordinator Mark Burack presented an update to the Frederick County Substance Abuse Council highlighting trends and progress the department is seeing in the fight against opioids. 

The department works in conjunction with several partner agencies to ensure those struggling with addiction receive access to resources to get help. FPD refers information concerning victims of opioid overdose to the health department, probation/parole and drug court officials for appropriate outreach to connect them to treatment. Over the current fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – May 31, 2021) the health department was able to contact 58 percent of overdose victims. Of the 49 people the health department made contact with, 82 percent of them received harm reduction counseling, Narcan training and were connected to treatment. A welcome consequence, is that in making contact with the initial victim of overdose, peer recovery specialists connected 22 other persons to treatment.

More progress in combatting the opioid crisis can be gleaned from the average age of overdose victims. For 2021 to date, 62 percent of overdose victims are between the ages of 26-45 years old. In 2020, 64 percent of overdose victims were between 21-40. The increasing age of victims may indicate success with opioid misuse prevention education directed at parents, children, teenagers and college students. 

However, FPD is also tracking several ongoing trends in overdose and drug seizures. 

  • Increased involvement of xylazine used as a cutting agent with fentanyl 
    • Xylazine is a veterinary drug that can cause significant skin and nasal ulcers 
  • Increased involvement of counterfeit oxycodone tablets containing fentanyl in drug seizures and overdoses. They are reportedly obtained in Baltimore or ordered via the internet and shipped to the buyer. 
  • Increased involvement of counterfeit Xanax (alprazolam), a benzodiazepine, that actually contains Etizolam, a substance prescribed in foreign countries and not approved for use in the US

Residents should also be aware of some packaging trends that FPD is seeing in regards to heroin and opioids.

  • The packaging of fentanyl in combination with other drugs (heroin, cocaine, xylazine, etizolam) 
  • Clear plastic snaptop vials of various colors (known as “trash cans”) 
  • Clear gel capsules 
    • Bi-color capsules 
  • Small plastic baggies of various size 
  • Counterfeit oxycodone tablets known as “Oxys” “Percs” “Blues” and “M-30s” that contain fentanyl are a dangerous trend. The tablets are copies of legitimate 30 mg oxycodone hydrochloride tablets.

Click here to view the full report presented to the FCSAC.

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