Massachusetts Opioid Deaths Rise For First Time In 3 Years During Pandemic

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The number of opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts rose for the first time in three years last year, according to data released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Opioid overdose deaths rose by 5% in the state in 2020, totaling 2,035 confirmed deaths. That number rises to 2,106 deaths if the number of estimated overdose deaths are included — the highest number ever recorded since record-keeping began in 2000, just barely passing 2016 by two deaths.

The overdose deaths increased the most among non-Hispanic Black men, surging by 69% in 2020.

Fentanyl was involved in an overwhelming majority of cases, around 92%, as it has been since 2016.

Gov. Baker's Administration pointed out in a press release that although Massachusetts did see an overdose death increase, the state was still better off than most of the country: according to preliminary CDC data, the nation's overdose deaths spiked 30% between October 2019 and 2020. Some areas like Kentucky and Washington, D.C. saw spikes of 50% or more.

WBZ's Carl Stevens (@carlwbz) reports:

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Written by Chaiel Schaffel

(Photo: Getty Images)

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