Yesterday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) released new data showing that the number of opioid deaths across the Commonwealth topped out at 2,069 in 2016. That's about 6 deaths a day due to opioids.
Not one of the communities in the 4th Middlesex District has escaped the epidemic. In fact, some of the communities here have been especially hard hit. In 2015, there were 30 deaths in our five communities. The new data from DPH show 41 deaths in 2016. Behind each one of those numbers is a person representing the loss of a friend, neighbor, or loved one.
And, it's a crisis that has affected me, personally. Five years ago, my brother's son, my nephew, died of an overdose of heroin. He was 23. He had struggled with this addiction since high school and had sought opioid addiction recovery treatment and rehabilitation more than once.