"AS THE COVID-19 pandemic continues to fill headlines, the opioid epidemic grinds on with few signs of improvement. In this research brief we analyze recent data on opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts, including data from the COVID time period, to help us keep sight of a crisis that continues wreaking havoc on lives to this day.
At the peak of the opioid epidemic in 2016, Massachusetts reached 29.7 deaths per 100,000 residents, more than two times the national rate (for further detail on the causes of this increase, please see our 2018 report Opioid Addiction Is a National Crisis. And It’s Twice as Bad in Massachusetts). While this rate has stopped climbing quite so dramatically, as of 2016 it has held steady at historically high rates, remaining in the high 20s per 100,000 and spiking back up to 30 per 100,000 during the peak of the COVID pandemic in 2020.
Fortunately, there are signs that opioid-related overdose deaths may yet decrease in 2021. During a Public Health Council meeting in August, MassDPH presented preliminary data showing that the first six months of 2021 saw an estimated 5 percent decrease in total deaths from the same period in 2020, which would roughly bring Massachusetts back to 2019 levels. "
|"Opioid epidemic grinds on in Mass. at elevated rates"|