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Death Of Missing Woman Puts Spotlight On Opioid Epidemic

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Heartbreak, after police find a missing 25-year-old woman dead just hours after a plea from her parents and police.

Sources close to the investigation believe Kristin Spurrier's is drug-related, and that's putting a new spotlight on the opioid epidemic that's hitting Maryland hard.

By the end of the day, an average of five people in Maryland will have died in drug-related deaths.

Johns Hopkins and the Bloomberg School of Health have done extensive research into addictive painkillers, finding children have easy access and heroin related deaths have doubled.

Just hours after Valerie Spurrier pleaded for her daughter's return, police found Kristin's body in Owings Mills.

While autopsy results have not been released, sources close to the investigation say the death is not suspicious and was drug-related.

"Kristin has had drug addiction problems in the past," said Valerie Spurrier on Monday. "She was doing well."

Drug-related deaths are skyrocketing in Maryland, now the fourth leading killer in the state, behind cancer, stroke, and heart attacks.

"We see about 1,000 people a day who need treatment, and it's far less than what the actual need is," said Barbara Wahl, RN, MA, Chief Operating Officer of Concerted Care Group.

Wahl says suburban areas are reaching to city treatment facilities to stem opioid addiction.

"Five people a day are dying from opioid overdose," said Wahl. "That's shocking. If that was any other disease, that would be on everybody's lips."

Opioids include heroin and legally available prescription drugs, like Oxycontin and Vicodin.

New Johns Hopkins/Bloomberg research shows 70 percent of prescription opioids are not stored properly in homes with children.

"We were hoping that people would be a little safer with what can be lethal medications," said Eileen McDonald, from Hopkins Opioid.

These cheap, easy highs are killing thousands, not just in Maryland, but across the country. A wake up call for mother Camelia Carter, whose son died of an overdose.

"The pandemic is devastating the very fiber of this country," said Cater. "If this were the flu, our county would be under quarantine."

Fentanyl and heroin is present in half of all recent prescription overdoses in Maryland.

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