There was a total of 827 overdoses in Anne Arundel County during 2020, a 14.5% increase from 2019. Overdose fatalities reached 149, more than 18% over last year. The chart below illustrates this concerning change following the significant drop in both deaths and overdoses in 2019 compared to the two previous years.

What are opioids?

Opiates/ opioids are drugs that are used to relieve pain because of the way they suppress the central nervous system. This method of pain treatment causes many individuals to become tolerant of the drug. When this happens, a higher dose of the drug is needed to achieve the same pain-relieving effect. For many people, this is how addiction begins.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic:

When businesses and social activities began shutting down last March, individuals suffering from addiction lost the support systems they needed to stay sober. Increases in calls to mental health helplines were an early indication of the unintended consequences and a reminder that the illness caused by covid-19 is not the only way people are affected by the pandemic (Bhat, 2020). A recent report from the CDC states that the 12 months leading up to May 2020 had the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a year at over 81,000 nationwide (Bhat, 2020).

Opioid Overdose Response Training: Naloxone is a prescription medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose to prevent death. Save a life by learning how to identify signs of an overdose and administer naloxone. Go to to register.