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Baltimore Credits Treatment for Decline in Overdose Deaths


Increased availability of addiction treatment, improved outreach, and educating addicts on harm-reduction techniques have helped cut the rate of drug overdoses for the second straight year in Baltimore, the Baltimore Sun reported July 1.

Overdose rates in the city are now at their lowest level since 1995, with deaths down from 281 in 2007 to 176 in 2008, according to the Baltimore Health Department.

“Short and sweet: Treatment works,” said Gregory Warren, executive director of Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems. “There are literally hundreds of people alive today because of what's happening … If you were able to offer substance abuse treatment to more people, we would be able to continue this positive trend. Of course, we'd like to get to treatment on demand. But that's a tall order.”

Baltimore has invested more than $1 million in a program to treat heroin addicts with buprenorphine, and the city's Staying Alive program educates users on avoiding overdoses and provides them with the anti-overdose drug Narcan.

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