Opioid-related OD deaths on decline in Massachusetts


Health officials warn communities of rise in non-fatal opioid overdoses.

BOSTON (AP) — The number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts declined by about 6% in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period in 2018, but fentanyl-related deaths remain on the rise.

The state Department of Public Health on Monday between January and September of 2019, there were 1,460 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths in the state, 99 fewer than in the first nine months of 2018.

In the first six months of 2019, fentanyl was present in 93% of opioid-related overdose deaths where there was a toxicology screen, up from 89% of opioid-related overdose deaths where there was a toxicology screen in 2018.

State Public Health Commissioner Dr. Monica Bharel says the data indicate that the public health-centered approach to the opioid epidemic is working.

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