"An average of more than five Massachusetts residents died each day in 2016 from an opioid overdose, with the synthetic drug fentanyl continuing to fuel the addiction crisis.
The Department of Public Health’s most recent quarterly report provides a clearer picture of the nature of the ongoing opioid epidemic. Statewide, there were 1,933 confirmed opioid deaths in 2016, a 16 percent increase over 2015, according to the May 10 report. Heroin was present in approximately 33 percent of the deaths, while fentanyl was present in 77 percent. Fentanyl is up to 50 times more potent than heroin.
Maryanne Frangules, executive director of the nonprofit Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery, said it is encouraging to see the state work to craft public policy in an effort to combat the spread of addiction. Allocating resources, collecting data and running awareness campaigns are part of the effort.
“More policymakers are listening, and more families and people in recovery are speaking up,” she said. “There is more treatment available, but it’s not at a point where it’s seamless, continuing care.”Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)