- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland’s health department says the state had a 21 percent increase in fatal drug overdoses in 2014, compared to the previous year.

The report released Tuesday says 1,039 people died from overdoses in 2014. That’s a 60 percent increase since 2010.

About 86 percent of the deaths involved opioids, which include heroin and prescription drugs.

The health department says large increases in deaths involving heroin and fentanyl were responsible for the overall increase in opioid-related deaths. The number of fentanyl-related deaths more than tripled between 2013 and 2014, from 58 in 2013 to 185 in 2014. Fentanyl is a powerful narcotic that can kill by inhibiting breathing.

Earlier this year, Gov. Larry Hogan created an emergency task force and a separate council to address the state’s growing heroin problem.

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