SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A study released on Wednesday shows staggering statistics about the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts.
The state saw a 200 percent increase in opioid-related overdoses from 2001 to 2015. Massachusetts has had 65,000 opioid overdoses over the past 15 years.
The last time Massachusetts had such a large number of deaths from a single category was during the AIDS epidemic of the ’80s and ’90s.
We took a look at the study and one of the most notable parts of this epidemic is that it affects nearly every part of the state.
Deaths and overdoses from opioids are highest among young males, but all population sub-groups have seen increases in opioid overdoses in recent years.
The study shows that if you’ve received a three-month prescription of an opioid in the past, you’re four times more likely to die from an overdose within a year, and 30 times more likely to die from an overdose in five years.
According to the report, almost half of the people who died from an opioid-related overdose were opioid-naive, or weren’t using any opioid substances six months or more before an initial prescription.
People who are more likely to die from an overdose are the homeless, people recently released from prison, and people with a serious mental illness or depression.
In western Massachusetts, Holyoke, Springfield, Chicopee and West Springfield saw the highest burden of opioid use.
If you or someone you know is in danger of overdosing, call 911 immediately. Massachusetts’ Good Samaritan law means you will not be charged for the possession of the drug when seeking medical help.
Resources: Working for a Better Tomorrow