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April 16, 2019

Trone visits Hagerstown, takes Narcan training

Credit: Herald-Mail Media, Dan Dearth

U.S. Rep. David Trone, D-Md., visited Hagerstown on Tuesday morning to remind local officials that he is still committed to his campaign promise of waging a war on opioids.

The first-term congressman told about 20 people who gathered at City Hall that he knows what it’s like to lose a loved one to drug addiction — a disease that claims the lives of about 70,000 Americans each year.

Trone said his 24-year-old nephew, Ian Trone, died of a fentanyl-related overdose in 2016.

“I think it’s the number one issue in the country right now,” Trone said. “My focus in Congress … is to address this opioid epidemic.”

As part of his visit, Trone took a brief course and was certified to administer Narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

Victoria Sterling, director of behavioral health services at the Washington County Health Department, provided the training.

Among the topics she discussed were the signs of recognizing an opioid overdose and how to administer Narcan in the form of a nasal spray.

She said 188 opioid overdoses have been reported in Washington County since Jan. 1. Of those, 22 were fatal.

The number of fatalities could have been much higher, she said, if it weren’t for Maryland’s Good Samaritan Law, which allows people to administer Narcan without the risk of being charged.

Sterling said Narcan has been used to great effect as the “first line of defense in saving lives.” The local death rate so far this year is 12%, she said, compared to 15% in 2018.

Trone said Congress understands the crisis and plans to tackle the opioid crisis head-on.

“This is bipartisan,” he said. “It’s Republicans. It’s Democrats. … Everyone is working together from all over the United States to come up with 15 or 20 pieces of legislation that can address things from education to treatment. … It’s a multi-faceted disaster across the country.”

Hagerstown City Councilwoman Emily Keller worked with Trone’s staff to arrange his visit.

“This is just amazing,” Keller said. “While he was campaigning, he said he was going to make opioids his number one focus. And since being elected, he has. It’s nice to have a congressman who hasn’t forgotten about Western Maryland and Hagerstown.”

Trone will be in Hagerstown again on Thursday to continue talking about the opioid crisis during a workshop at the downtown branch of the Washington County Free Library.

The event is free and open to the public and will run from 6 to 8 p.m.

Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford also is scheduled to attend.