(Mirror Daily, United States) – The latest state report released by the officials in Massachusetts has revealed that the number of opioid deaths increased for the sixth year in a row. Furthermore, fentanyl played a major role in influencing the mortality rates as it accounts for 75 percent of all opioid deaths.
The public health department has reported 1,465 confirmed overdose deaths related to opioids in 2016 as well as between 469 and 562 suspected deaths, but the health officials are still waiting for the final for confirmation.
Based on the estimates, the death toll may exceed 2,000 victims although the authorities are doing their best to contain the epidemic. In 2015, 1,579 people died of opioid overdoses, whereas other 154 deaths were suspected.
Last year, the rates of opioid deaths increased by between 13 and 24 percent. Worse, the health specialists say that the annual death toll has tripled over the past five years. Even if the number of heroin-related deaths dropped drown in 2016, fentanyl has become widely spread across the country.
Many dealers sell heroin mixed with fentanyl because it is almost impossible for a consumer to detect the other drug. The problem is that fentanyl is cheaper and between fifty and a hundred times more potent than heroin.
As such, the consumers have a higher risk to die of an accidental overdose. The toxicology screens have revealed that this synthetic opioid caused roughly 75 percent of the deaths. Also, this percentage has been increasing sharply since 2015. According to Governor Charlie Baker, the opioid epidemic represents a major threat to all families and individuals in Massachusetts.
Baker said that the experts would come up with new treatment options for the patients with addiction. Also, the lawmakers will issue new regulations to restrict the prescription of opioids. In addition to this, the authorities will arrest all drug traffickers and convict them.
According to the experts, most people become addicted to heroin after they have gotten hooked on prescribed painkillers. Also, these painkillers are sometimes obtained illegally. Based on the report, the annual number of opioid prescription declined by 15 percent last year, compared to 2015. Baker adds that the state spending focused on reducing opioid deaths and addiction increased by fifty percent since 2015.
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