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Md. overdose deaths continued to rise through third quarter

In 2015, 3.6 million Medicare Part D enrollees had drug spending above the program’s catastrophic threshold of $7,062, according to a recent report released by the Kaiser Family Foundation.(phodopus /

(phodopus /

Deaths related to opioid overdoses use continued to rise through the third quarter of 2017, according to numbers released Friday by the Maryland Department of Health.

Fentanyl-related overdoses continued as the most significant contributor to overdose deaths, as prescription opioid-related deaths and heroin-related deaths fell from the same point in 2016.

Overall, there were 1,501 opioid-related deaths in Maryland through the third quarter in 2017, up from 1,344 the year before. 1,173 deaths were fentanyl related, up from 751 through the same period in 2016.

Prescription opioid-related deaths fell for the first time since 2013, to 313. There were 323 prescription opioid-related deaths at the same point in 2016.

Heroin-related deaths fell for the first time since 2010. There were 847 heroin related deaths through the third quarter of 2017, down from 903 the year before.

Despite the decreases, 2017 was still the second-deadliest year for prescription opioid- and heroin-related deaths over the past 10 years.

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