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OD deaths in the state increase during a pandemic | State News

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Boston-New Public Health Service data show that during the first nine months of 2020, an estimated 33 people died from opioid overdose compared to the same period last year.

By September, 1,517 opioid-related overdose deaths were confirmed and estimated to be 2% of the deaths recorded between January and September 2019, according to figures released by the Public Health Council on Wednesday. Increased has.

The 2020 figures cover the period before and during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This is a public health crisis that has disrupted the economy, kept many people home for more than a few weeks, and disrupted how services and care are delivered of all kinds. ..

If the rise continues throughout the rest of 2020, it will indicate a break from the recent practice of deaths from overdose, which declines each year.

The DPH report shows that the total fatal opioid overdose confirmed and estimated in 2019 was 2,020, down from 2,033 in 2018, 2,051 in 2017 and 2,102 in 2016. is showing.

Public health commissioner Dr. Monica Barrel said the latest data show that overdose mortality in black women and black and Hispanic men increased between 2018 and 2019. It was.

She said the overall rate of death from overdose has been stable since its peak in 2016, despite the increased presence of potent synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Fentanyl calls the barrel “a truly deadly ingredient we’ve seen causing opioid deaths in this current epidemic,” a poisonous substance from overdose in the first six months of the year. Appeared in 93% of academic screenings. Heroin was present at 16 percent.

“The opioid epidemic continues to affect too many families and vulnerable people who have had to face the further fear and stress of the pandemic,” Barrel said. “We have not given up our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic. Over the last few months, the extraordinary public health challenges presented by the pandemic have expanded telemedicine, reduced barriers to treatment, and Efforts to prevent overdose, such as expansion, have been enacted. Naroxone distribution and federal approval to allow approved treatment programs to provide take-away doses of drugs for opioid use disorders. I have received it. “

Deirdre Calvert, director of the DPH Drug Addiction Department, said authorities are “actively maximizing” access to treatment of drug abuse disorders during pandemics.

She said the ability to take medicine home is “very important because it reduces the number of people in the clinic, increases the number of people who can stay home, are isolated and physically separated.” ..

As of June, 52% of patients looking at opioid treatment providers were receiving take-away doses, compared to an average of 15.6% in December 2019.

From March to June, more than 75,000 naloxone kits were distributed to treatment providers, syringe service programs, community health centers, emergency rooms, and correctional facilities, Calbert said.

She also has her own bureau to address challenges such as social isolation, drug supply changes, avoidance of treatments feared to be infected with coronavirus, and increased risk of overdose due to a combination of pandemics. Economic and mental health sacrifice said to have launched a COVID-19 response team.

“No matter how much naloxone we flood our system, it’s a problem if people are using it alone and no one is there to give it,” Calvert said.

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