Baltimore named country’s ‘overdose capital’


According to a report by the New York Times, Baltimore has been labeled the “U.S. overdose capital” with close to 6,000 deaths in the past six years. Baltimore Councilman Mark Conway acknowledges that the city was previously at the forefront of tackling the opioid crisis.

“Back in 2011, 2012, when we noticed that individuals were experiencing more addiction problems with pills, we were leading the effort to reverse this trend. Even then, we did not see the desired outcomes,” Conway stated on “Morning in America.”

“As we witnessed the transition from pill addiction to street drugs and fentanyl, it has had a significant detrimental impact,” Conway added.

During the period from 2018 to 2022, the death rate in Baltimore was nearly twice that of any major city and exceeded that of most of Appalachia during the prescription pill crisis, the Midwest during the peak of rural meth labs, or New York during the crack epidemic.

Conway mentions that although Baltimore has various city programs in place to assist those battling addiction, it has not been adequate in addressing the problem.

“I believe we need to take a long-term approach and perhaps think more creatively about potential solutions. This will require a significant amount of resources, especially since we have not encountered an issue of such magnitude previously,” Conway shared with Truth Voices.

A decade ago, when the opioid crisis initially struck Baltimore, the city’s initial response was praised as a national model. Baltimore set ambitious objectives, distributed Narcan widely, experimented with methods to guide individuals into treatment, and intensified public awareness campaigns.

From 2020 onwards, officials have established fewer and less ambitious goals for their overdose prevention efforts. The task force formed to handle the crisis once convened monthly but only met twice in 2022 and three times in 2023.

“What we are witnessing here is a pressure cooker situation, where Baltimore’s issues are amplified,” Conway remarked. “We have a history of opioid problems. Therefore, we will need to delve into data, processes, and agencies to explore additional measures we can implement.”

Urja Sinha
Urja Sinha
Digital Content Producer.

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