More people are dying from opioid overdoses in Massachusetts

The quarterly report is from July-September 2016

A deadly mix of heroin and fentanyl has led to a rise in drug overdoses

BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health released on Monday released the quarterly report on opioid related deaths. The data shows deaths involving heroin continue to decline, while fentanyl-related deaths continue to rise.

Mass. Health Officials say there were 1,005 confirmed cases of unintentional opioid overdose deaths for the first time in nine months of 2016, with an estimated 392-470 suspected opioid-related deaths that may be added to that total, a pace higher than the first nine months of 2015.

The new data revealed that 74% of deaths in the third quarter of this year had a toxicology screen showing a positive result for fentanyl. That is a 30 percent increase over 2015, when 57 percent of the deaths tested positive for fentanyl.

There was also a quarterly decline in 2016 in the number of prescriptions and patients receiving schedule II & III opioids, when compared to the same three-month period in 2015, said Mass. Health Officials.

There was a steady increase in the number of opioid-related EMS transports, with a parallel increase in the number of transports requiring more than one naloxone administration in an effort to reverse the overdose, said Mass. Health Officials.

They also said an update of the 2015 confirmed cases of unintentional opioid overdose deaths is 1,574.

The quarterly report is from July-September 2016.

When congress re-convenes after election day, Senator Ed Markey plans to press for federal funding for new prevention, treatment and recovery programs.

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