Overdose Prevention

Overdose Prevention in Baltimore

Important steps you can take to prevent overdose

In 2018, 888 people in Baltimore lost their lives to overdose. They were friends, parents, children, and valued members of our community. Most of the overdoses were due to opioids, especially fentanyl. If you or a loved one uses drugs, there are important steps you can take to prevent overdose.

Spotlight: Xylazine (tranq”) in Maryland

Xylazine (also called “tranq” or “tranq dope”) is increasingly being found mixed with fentanyl and other drugs in Baltimore and across Maryland and the U.S. In April 2023, the federal government designated fentanyl adulterated or associated with xylazine as an official emerging threat to the nation. Xylazine is a commonly used veterinary sedative and is not intended for humans. It is often mixed and sold with fentanyl and other opioids and has also been found in other street drugs.  

What do you need to know about xylazine: 

  • It can knock you out for a very long time. 
  • It can cause serious wounds.   
  • Withdrawal is different from an opioid withdrawal.   
  • Naloxone (Narcan®) doesn’t work on xylazine because it isn’t an opioid. 

Learn more about Xylazine in Maryland. 

Practice harm reduction and take steps to reduce the risk of overdose:

Narcan Nasal Spray: Naloxone
Photo: YouTube/Narcan

Call 911 for help with an overdose

If you are helping with an overdose, it’s best to call 911 for medical help – even if you’ve administered naloxone. 

When you call 911 to help someone who is overdosing, The Good Samaritan Law offers some protections.

The Good Samaritan Law DOES:

  • Apply to you, even if you are on probation, parole or pre-trial release
  • Protect against arrest and prosecution for some misdemeanors, including:
    • Possessing or using drugs/drug paraphernalia 
    • Providing alcohol to minors
    • Underage possession of alcohol
  • Protect the person overdosing from prosecution 

The law DOES NOT:

  • Protect other people at the scene if they aren’t helping with the medical emergency
  • Protect against open warrants
  • Protect you based on your immigration status

Learn more:

Baltimore Harm Reduction Resources:

  • Bmore POWER (A link to an external site) is a grassroots harm reduction team at BHSB that provides street outreach, naloxone and information across Baltimore.
  • The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) has a Community Risk Reduction Van (A link to an external site) that offers needle exchange services, naloxone, fentanyl test strips and other harm reduction resources. Find additional information from BCHD here.
  • Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition (A link to an external site) providers harm reduction resources and mobilizes community members to advocate for the health, dignity and safety of people targeted by the war on drugs.
  • Charm City Care Connection (A link to an external site) is a recovery and wellness center that offers drop-in support for people who use drugs. They also offer free syringe delivery anywhere in Baltimore, call (301) 615 2193 to learn more.
  • SPARC Center (A link to an external site) supports people whose gender identities include woman, agender, gender-nonbinary, and all other non-men identities, who engage in street-based, survival activities. They currently provide delivery services for harm reduction supplies including Narcan, fentanyl testing, wound care, and safer sex supplies. In addition, they provide STI testing, vaccines, emotional support, case management, free psychiatric services, and sexual health supplies.