Cumberland Times-News


May 15, 2013


Officials move to cut drug abuse, overdoses

The Allegany County Board of Health on Tuesday heard some alarming numbers involving overdoses involving drugs and alcohol. Fortunately, the group already has a plan to ease the situation.

Through the first 3 1/2 months of this year, 47 people were reported as non-alcohol-related overdose patients at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. That number is on track to exceed 2012, when 126 cases were reported.

In Allegany County, total deaths related to drug or alcohol intoxication were 15 in 2010 and 12 in 2011, the most recent years for which data was available. Eleven of the 2010 deaths were related to opioids, as were eight in 2011. Many people admitted to the hospital because of overdoses did not die, data from Western Maryland Health System show.

Despite the deaths and hospitalizations caused by overdoses, health officials still lack adequate information about the problem. Part of the health department’s plan of attack is to expand the data from the health system to include more information about the specific drug that is the cause of an overdose. Developing a unified policy on painkiller prescriptions is another strategy being reviewed.

Another goal is to pinpoint areas in the community where alcohol and drug abuse rates are highest — and then working on ways to prevent the abuse from occurring.

The health department joined with the health system and the Mental Health Systems Office recently to bring in a national expert, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, to speak to medical professionals about prescription abuse problems. The session was attended by nearly 90 health professionals.

One effort that is already paying off is the unused expired medicine drop-off program. Allegany County has four sites, while many counties have only one or two. Sheriff Craig Robertson said the sites are being used by people wishing to dispose of medications. Disposing of the drugs keeps them out of the hands of children and abusers in a family, and from making their way to dealers in prescription opioids.

Combatting the overdose problem in our community will have to be an on-going effort.  Drugs — legal and illegal — as well as alcohol are too easily abused. Having a community-wide strategy plan in use is an important part of the solution.


Text Only
  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014

  • Editorial Cartoon Editorial Cartoon

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Decriminalizing marijuana lines pockets of drug cartel

    Has the Maryland government decided they like contributing to the drug cartel? Their new decriminalization of marijuana does nothing but line the pockets of the cartel.

    April 11, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo