Opioid-related deaths up in first 9 months of 2020 in Massachusetts


FILE – This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma launched an ad campaign Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, to tell people harmed by their powerful prescription opioid where they can file claims against the company. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

BOSTON (AP) — State health officials say the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts in the first nine months of the year increased slightly when compared to the same period last year.

There were 1,517 confirmed and suspected opioid-related overdose deaths through the end of September, an estimated 33 more deaths than in the first nine months of 2019.

The state Department of Public Health said Wednesday that fentanyl continues to be a factor in the deaths.

The rate of fentanyl present among opioid-related overdose deaths where a toxicology report was available was 93%, according to the latest data.

12 Town Hall: Join us tonight at 7:30 on WPRI.com as we discuss how the pandemic is affecting the opioid crisis, what families are up against, and how the community can help.

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