For a sixth consecutive year, Massachusetts reported a likely increase in unintentional opioid-related overdose deaths with fentanyl responsible for nearly three-quarters of deaths in the state. According to the latest figures from the state’s Department of Public Health (DPH) released on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, 2016, the nation has witnessed 1,465 confirmed opioid-related deaths in 2016; 469 to 562 deaths are suspected to be from overdoses and are yet to be confirmed.
According to the report, over a five-year period, the annual number of fatal overdoses has almost tripled. In 2014, there were 1,321 opioid overdose deaths and in 2015, the number rose to 1,579. Between 2015-2016, there was a 15 percent decrease in the number of prescriptions issued for Schedule II and Schedule III opioids. While 2016 brought a decline in heroin-related deaths, there was a corresponding increase in fentanyl-related deaths. As per the toxicology reports, fentanyl was present in 75 percent of the fatalities. Despite renewed efforts by the state to confront the opioid epidemic, deaths in 2017 are expected to reach or exceed 2,000.
According to Governor Charlie Baker, “The opioid epidemic continues to threaten individuals and families all across Massachusetts and the country.” While promising that the state administration would ramp up its efforts in increasing treatment facilities for people suffering from addiction, the governor also said that the administration would support the efforts of law enforcement to arrest and convict drug traffickers who sell addictive substances to vulnerable people and endanger their lives.
Opioid epidemic: A deadly problem in Massachusetts
As per the Baker administration, state spending on addiction prevention and treatment increased 50 percent since Baker took office in January 2015. In March 2016, the governor also signed a landmark legislation addressing the deadly opioid and heroin epidemic plaguing the state.
Titled “An Act relative to substance use, treatment, education and prevention,” the legislation passed in both the legislative chambers and included numerous suggestions from the governor’s opioid working group. The recommendations in the bill included a seven-day limit on first-time opioid prescriptions and prevention education for students and doctors.
As per the DPH, the opioid death rate in the state has surpassed the national average with a sharp rise in the past two years. The opioid epidemic has affected every community in the state. Compared to the year 2000, opioid-related deaths in the state were more than four times higher in 2015.
Road to recovery
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while drug overdose deaths continued to rise across the nation, more than six out of 10 fatalities involved an opioid. Opioid overdose claims more than 91 American lives every day and overdose from prescription opioids has continued to be a driving factor in the 15-year increase in opioid overdose deaths. As per the CDC, 2015 witnessed more than 15,000 overdose fatalities involving prescription opioids.
If you know someone who is suffering from opioid abuse, it is time to get him or her assistance from certified medical practitioners who understand the needs of the patient and suggest suitable treatment. At the Prescription Drug Abuse Helpline, we can help you find the finest prescription drug abuse treatment centers in U.S.A. Call us at our 24/7 helpline 866-450-1557 or chat online with our representatives to know about the top prescription drug abuse treatment centers near you, which offer various recovery programs customized according to the condition.