Opioid Overdoses Are Up, Deaths Are Down: The Latest From Massachusetts

https://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2019/02/13/opioid-overdoses-deaths-massachusetts-data

Opioid Overdoses Are Up, Deaths Are Down: The Latest From Massachusetts

Martha Bebinger

Opioid overdose deaths are down in Massachusetts. The latest quarterly data from the Baker administration show 4 percent fewer fatalities in 2018 as compared to 2017. That's 82 fewer men and women who could not be revived after an overdose, according to preliminary estimates.

"The decrease in overdose deaths provides some hope that our approach to combating the opioid epidemic is having an impact," Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said in a statement. "We must maintain an intense focus on this crisis and continue to expand opportunities to increase harm reduction initiatives and expand treatment and recovery services."

While the number of deaths dropped in 2018, overdose-related 911 calls increased. There were 821 more such calls in the third quarter of 2018 as compared to the first. That 18 percent increase may be an underestimate, the state says, because it doesn't include reports from all ambulance services.

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