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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - A bill to repeal mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain drug-related charges has cleared the Maryland House of Delegates.

Supporters said the bill would give judges more freedom to determine an appropriate sentence for someone found guilty of certain drug charges. Delegates passed the measure 85-55. 

Bill sponsor Del. Curtis Anderson, a Baltimore City Democrat, said the measure allows judges to consider drug treatment for a person, rather than having current law dictate how long they must sentence someone to time behind bars.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - New Castle County officials are launching a new initiative to warn people about the dangers of heroin.

The campaign, to be discussed at a news conference Thursday, is aimed at teenagers and at making suburban, middle class families aware that heroin use is happening in their communities as well as in the inner city.

County Executive Tom Gordon and County Police Chief Col. E.M. Setting were among the officials scheduled to be on hand to discuss the effort.

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Governor Larry Hogan outlined his plan to fight the increasing number of heroin overdose deaths.

Hogan’s concern is also personal with the death of his own cousin to a heroin overdose a few years ago.

The Republican governor will be setting up a council and a separate special taskforce to deal with the problem.

They are to meet regularly and get advice from educators, families and others in the community.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Anne Arundel County's executive says he's going to declare a public health emergency as soon as next week in response to the "heroin epidemic" in the region, citing a growing number of deaths related to the highly addictive opioid.

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More than 100 officers joined the Crisfield Police Department Sunday morning and descended on the small town raiding nine locations aimed at shutting down gang activity.

WBOC reports that for months authorities hunted several suspects connected to the Tree Top Piru gang for crimes in the city.

Crisfield Police Chief Michael Tabor said his department had dismantled the gang and assured residents that they were safe.

He said that 18 bags of heroin, 10 bags of cocaine and more than $22-hundred in cash were recovered.

He said no guns were found.

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FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov.-elect Larry Hogan is celebrating the re-election of a county sheriff known for his tough approach to undocumented immigration and drug trafficking.

Hogan is scheduled to speak Friday at the swearing-in ceremony in Frederick for Frederick County sheriff and fellow Republican Chuck Jenkins.

Jenkins has embraced federal programs allowing local police to enforce immigration laws.

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Last night the Selbyville Police Chief Scott Collins got together with parents in the wake of a recent incident in which a middle school student ingested some heroin on Halloween.

Another incident involved a 4-year old who brought her mother’s backpack into a Selbyville daycare.

While at the daycare she found baggies of heroin in the backpack and began distributing them to other children thinking it was candy.

Collin told the parents that much of what authorities are seeing is access by children to drugs at home.

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A student at Selbyville Middle School apparently was taken by an ambulance from a school dance on Halloween because it was believed he had ingested heroin in a bathroom.

An Indian River School District official told the Wilmington News Journal that only one student was involved and that he did not inject the substance with a needle.

Spokesman David Maull said that the emergency responders showed up at the scene after receiving a 911 call and took the student Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Police officers in Delaware will soon be carrying emergency antidotes that could help save the lives of people who have overdosed on heroin.

A bill being signed into law Monday by Gov. Jack Markell allows trained police officers to carry the drug naloxone, a heroin overdose antidote known by the brand name Narcan.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland had a 33 percent increase in drug overdose deaths in the first quarter of this year.

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a new report on Thursday that shows the increase over the same period last year is being driven by fentanyl-laced heroin.

The report says there were 252 total drug overdose deaths from January to March, and 148 are related to heroin.

The state also has seen a big increase in heroin-related emergency department visits in recent years. There were 1,200 in Maryland last year, compared to 871 in 2012.


The Delaware state Senate has approved a measure that would allow the greater access to the drug Naloxone that is used to save the lives of heroin addicts who could die from an overdose.

The state Department of Health and Social Services has a plan to teach people on how to safely administer the drug and allows them to get the drug with a prescription.

Critics counter that making Naloxone more available ignores getting heroin users the help they need with their additions.

At least six Delawareans have recently died from a heroin overdose.


DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are eyeing legislation to help drug addicts survive heroin overdoses.

State officials last year adopted a pilot basic life support protocol that allows emergency responders to treat suspected narcotic overdoses with naloxone, a heroin overdose antidote known by the brand name Narcan.

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NEW CASTLE, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials say there have been a total of six overdose deaths related to fentanyl-laced heroin this year.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner announced Friday that toxicology reports confirm the fentanyl-laced heroin overdose deaths of four men and two women ranging in age from 28 to 58. The deaths occurred over a period of about two weeks in March and April in New Castle and Sussex counties. 


WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Police say Delaware is facing an epidemic of heroin use because it's cheap, easy to find and pure enough to snort, while the cost of prescription drugs has tripled due to close monitoring.

The News Journal reports heroin seizures by New Castle County police spiked 860 percent compared with this time last year.