Plymouth-opioids killed more than 1,500 people in the first nine months of 2020, state estimates show a 2 percent increase in overdose deaths compared to the same period last year.
According to data released Wednesday by the state public health service, 1,517 people were suspected of having died from opioid overdose between January and September, with an estimated 1,485 deaths last year.
The state reports both confirmed and suspected fatal opioid overdose cases while investigating deaths.
“The opioid epidemic continues to affect so many families and vulnerable groups that have had to face the further fear and stress of the pandemic,” said public health commissioner Dr. Monica Barrel on Wednesday. Said at a council meeting.
Opioid deaths increased as the state fought another crisis, the coronavirus pandemic. Killed more than 10,000 people in the state.
Plymouth police chief Michael Bottieri said the coronavirus made outreach difficult, and pandemic stress and quarantine made people suffering from substance use more difficult.
“People are stuck at home and have nothing to do wherever they go,” Botieri said.
Botieri said deaths are on the rise in Plymouth County. He added that the pandemic made it difficult for Plymouth County Outreach, a collaborative effort between county law enforcement agencies and healthcare providers to curb opioid use, to do the job.
“The coronavirus has made it impossible for us to run programs the way we want,” said Botieri.
The program sends plainclothes police officers, along with a certified clinician or recovery coach, to the homes of overdose victims within 1-2 days of overdose. Mr. Botieri said the visit was changed to either outdoors or by phone, but he believes neither is so effective.
Vicky Butler, program director for Outreach, Plymouth County, said he was able to begin his direct visit again in July. She said the success rate of contacting people over the phone was just over 50%, much lower than a direct visit.
“I think the coronavirus makes things difficult,” Butler said. “We have seen many recurrences and new names.”
Butler said the important thing users should remember is not to use it alone, which can be very dangerous. She also said there are fentanly strips available to test powerful synthetic opioid drugs that are stronger than heroin. According to Butler, fentanyl is much more common in the state than heroin because it is cheap and powerful.
State data show that fentanyl was present in almost all overdose deaths.
Of the 1,023 overdose deaths confirmed in 2020, 737 were male and 286 were female. About 73% of the victims were white, 13% Hispanic, 8% black, 1% Asian, and 2% of unknown race.
In response to this rise, the state public health service said in a statement, “From March to September, we distributed more than 75,000 naloxone kits to opioid treatment programs, community health centers, hospital emergency departments and correctional facilities.” Stated.
Naloxone, often referred to as the brand name Nalkan, A fast-acting overdose reversal drug.
“While fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to work to address the opioid crisis and continue our efforts to support our population,” Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement. “We recognize that the stress, anxiety, and social isolation caused by COVID-19 can be particularly difficult for people dealing with substance use disorders, and are multifaceted for preventive treatment and overdose of services. We continue to focus on serving people who are in need of a good strategy. “
Opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts surged in 2016, killing 2,102 people. It has been decreasing every year since then.. If the rest of 2020 continues to grow by 2% compared to last year, it will be Massachusetts’ second most deadly opioid overdose year to date.
The State House News Service documentation was used in this report. You can contact Joe Difazio at jdifazio @ patriotledger.com.
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