Boston remains in anxiety about the opiate crisis with more than 1,500 deaths during the first nine months of 2018, most associated with a powerful synthetic opiate fentanyl, according to new data released on Friday.
The latest quarterly report by the Ministry of Health on opiate-related deaths has also highlighted some encouraging trends, including a slight decrease in overdose deaths compared to last year and a continuing reduction in the number of prescriptions for opiate pain medications.
The report noted that by September of this year, 1,588 deaths were associated with opioids-related overdoses, a figure that includes deaths that were confirmed as overdoses and others that should be added to the list after it is issued official decision. In 2017, the state reported 1,538 confirmed and estimated overdose deaths.
While this year saw a smaller number of deaths, it seems that the state is not in pace to match the 4% drop that occurred between 2016 and 2017.
Fentanyl was present in 90% of the toxicological reports of opioid deaths during the second quarter of the current year, a figure that has tripled since 2014. By contrast, heroin, which was more than 70% of opiate-related deaths this year, fell to 37% in April and June this year.
"An opioid epidemic that is driven by a persistent high level of fentanyl remains a tragic public health crisis that is responsible for too many people in Massachusetts," Republican Governor Charlie Baker said in a report that is part of the report. "While there is plenty of work for all of us, we are encouraging that overdoses and opioid prescriptions continue to decline as Commonwealth Testing Examinations are on the increase."
Legislation signed by Baker in 2016 focused on excessive or unnecessary use of painkillers that can lead to opioid dependence by limiting the first dose of opioids to 7-day deliveries, and allowing patients to require pharmacies to fill in a less prescription opioid prescription.
It is expected that during the third quarter of this year, 547,000 prescribed opioid rules for Schedule II were reported in the monitoring program, a decrease of 35 percent from 2015 onwards. Prescription drugs were present in 17% of the toxicology reports of overdose death in the second quarter of 2018.
After signing last year's bill, which closed a national law limiting criminal prosecution of fentanyl crimes, Baker recently submitted $ 5 million in law to help law enforcement authorities strengthen and coordinate efforts to stopping fentanyl.
Also worrying, Friday officials said, it was found that the overdose deaths of opiates in black men rose by 44 percent in 2017, even at a time when mortality fell among the population.
"We are also focusing on public awareness campaigns on black communities in Massachusetts, including a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of naloxone, opioid-nausea drugs," said Dr. Monica Bharelová.
A study published last week by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, detailing the economic impact of the opiate crisis, showed a loss of production due to a loss of productivity due to a loss of productivity due to employees whose work performance was threatened or could not work as a result of opioid dependence. The report also conservatively linked annual medical costs related to the public and private epidemic to $ 4.5 billion, arguing that this figure is most likely underestimated.