Mass. Opioid Overdose Deaths Are Down 10 Percent So Far This Year


There’s some reduction within the newest snapshot of opioid overdose deaths in Mbadachusetts, as an estimated 167 fewer residents died within the first 9 months of 2017, as in contrast with the identical interval final yr.

The estimated 10 p.c drop in deaths is included in a 3rd quarter report from the Baker administration, which is monitoring and presenting near-real-time information on the state’s opioid epidemic.

(Courtesy of the state Department of Public Health)
(Courtesy of the state Department of Public Health)

“This new report shows some trend lines that are moving in the right direction … but there are still too many people dying from overdoses,” Gov. Charlie Baker mentioned in an announcement on Monday.

Opioid overdose deaths continued to rise in lots of states final yr, in keeping with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There’s no indication but that different states are seeing a decline in deaths that mirrors Mbadachusetts.

“It’s possible we are a positive anomaly,” mentioned Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “Mbadachusetts has been very badertive in our response to the opioid crisis. Our trend in the decline in opioid overdoses is not the national norm, but we also collect data really, really well.”

No one is suggesting that Mbadachusetts has turned the tide on the opioid epidemic. The drop is encouraging, but it surely’s not clear why fewer males, girls and youngsters are dying after an overdose.

“Does this mean we’re getting better at recognizing overdoses and treating them?” asks Harvard Medical School teacher Dr. David Scales. “That would be good news, but it doesn’t mean that we’re preventing overdoses from happening.”

Better revival charges could also be a part of the reply in Mbadachusetts. EMS use of naloxone, the drug that reverses an opioid overdose, rose for the primary six months of this yr, although its use was as excessive throughout some elements of final yr.

(Courtesy of the state Department of Public Health)
(Courtesy of the state Department of Public Health)

But in some communities, calls to EMS are down, as are deaths.

“I don’t think it’s just a decrease in fatalities; at least in Norwood, we’ve also seen a decline in nonfatal overdoses,” mentioned Norwood Chief of Police William Brooks.

Brooks says extra individuals are listening to the opioid epidemic and ramping up prevention efforts. His officers are amongst these throughout the state that comply with up with overdose victims, visiting them at residence and providing details about remedy.

Dr. Sandro Galea, dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, says the transfer to deal with dependancy as a illness slightly than a prison violation should proceed.

“Mbadachusetts has been a leader in doing a lot of things right,” Galea mentioned. He factors to the state’s funding in remedy, higher entry to those packages and a tighter prescription monitoring program.

The Baker administration says there was a 30 p.c drop within the variety of Mbadachusetts sufferers who obtained an opioid prescription within the third quarter of 2017, as in contrast with the primary three months of 2015.

(Courtesy of the state Department of Public Health)
(Courtesy of the state Department of Public Health)

Doctors say it will be too early for a drop in prescriptions to translate to fewer deaths from avenue medicine. Fentanyl, typically mixed with an anti-anxiety medication akin to Xanax or Klonopin, is present in 81 p.c of confirmed overdose deaths.

(Courtesy of the state Department of Public Health)
(Courtesy of the state Department of Public Health)

There are a number of different disturbing traits within the opioid epidemic in Mbadachusetts. The loss of life charge for Hispanics doubled from 2014 to 2016.

(Courtesy of the state Department of Public Health)
(Courtesy of the state Department of Public Health)

“There is a disproportionate impact on opioid-related deaths among Hispanics,” Secretary Sudders mentioned. “As we roll out new strategies and interventions, we need to really provide culturally responsive and targeted interventions for individuals who are Hispanic.”

The whole confirmed deaths for 2016 is now 2,094 — nonetheless practically six individuals day by day.

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