Showing posts from May, 2017

Opioids: Despite progress in Massachusetts, crisis continues to take lives and hurt families

Across the country, opioid addiction is now taking more young lives than the HIV epidemic did at its peak. Nearly 2 million people in the United States suffer from an addiction to prescription opioids, and about 17,000 people die each year from overdosing on these medications. Massachusetts is one of the hardest hit states, with more than 11,000 deaths between 2000 and 2015.

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 …