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Frederick County Program Addresses Heroin Crisis


Frederick County is seeing an alarming rise in the number of overdoses and fatalities related to heroin use. Between 2012 and 2013, heroin deaths in Frederick County doubled from 10 to 21 fatalities. In 2014, that number continued to grow to 27 deaths. This increase in heroin related deaths is frightening, and many citizens of Frederick County are wondering what can be done to combat this growing epidemic.

Many community partnerships have already been formed, such as the Peer Recovery Specialist partnership between the Frederick County Health Department and Frederick Memorial Hospital. Local events are taking place to combat this growing issue including drug disposal events and regular meetings of the Frederick City Heroine Strategic Planning Committee.

Governor Larry Hogan has established a strategic goal to reduce overdose deaths by 20% by the end of 2015. According to Governor Hogan, “our administration is committed to finding the best and most effective solutions to this crisis, and our Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force is hard at work developing comprehensive strategies to address this problem.”* In Frederick County, County Executive Jan Gardner has formed a Heroin Consortium to bring together many county agencies, non-profit organizations, and other community partners to work toward effectively addressing the substance abuse issues that exist today, and reduce overdose occurrences and fatalities. This consortium will facilitate communication between various non-profits, county agencies, and community partners, including Frederick Memorial Hospital.

These partnerships encourage information and resource sharing, and produce a unified response to the challenges facing Frederick County residents.

In 2015, the Frederick County Health Department started a campaign called “Take Back My Life”, aimed at expanding awareness of the deadly risks associated with prescription opioid and heroin abuse. This campaign includes video footage of real people, located in the Frederick area, who have experienced the impact of addiction—first hand or through a family member. These stories expose the heartbreak and pain that heroin and opioid addiction can cause, and their stories are being shared in hopes of saving lives. to learn more.

For citizens who need immediate help with substance abuse, please call the 24-hour Crisis and Intervention Hot Line by dialing 211, or the Frederick County Health Department at 301-600-1029. If there is a life threatening emergency, dial 911.

For more information about the Heroin Consortium, contact Special Administrative Director Margaret Nusbaum, Office of the County Executive, at 301-600-7700 or via email

This post is part of COPE Corner, a blog series focusing on the efforts of Team C.O.P.E.

In 2014, a team of nurses, case managers, and leadership at Frederick Memorial Hospital began brainstorming ideas on how to combat the growing heroin epidemic in Frederick County. From this brainstorm, Team C.O.P.E. (Caregiver Outreach Providing Education) was formed.

Team C.O.P.E.’s mission is to education the public on the dangers of substance abuse and ultimately decrease the incidence of heroin overdoses within the Frederick community, and beyond. This team has dedicated countless hours to researching all aspects of the growing heroin epidemic, collaborating with community partners, and evaluating and evolving how care if provided to these individuals at FMH.

To learn more about Team C.O.P.E. and their continued work within the Frederick Community, search our blog for COPE Corner.

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