The Latest Opioid Figures: A Small Glimmer of Hope

The Department of Public Health has released the latest figures on opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts throughout all of 2017, and while the data shows 1,977 casualties, that sad total is nevertheless 8.3% less than the previous year’s count of 2,155.

DPH reports that prescription opioids found in toxicology screenings of opioid deaths has trended downward since 2014, and that heroin’s presence has also decreased. However, the presence of fentanyl is still trending upward, according to DPH.

Massachusetts has made a concerted effort through legislation, increased law enforcement, and expanded treatment to curb the opioid scourge. MHA hospital members have signed on to two association-created guidelines on best-practice use of opioids in emergency departments and throughout hospital caregiving settings. The DPH report may signal that the tough, ongoing efforts may finally be showing some positive results.