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BOSTON (WPRI) — A new report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health shows there were 2,357 confirmed and estimated overdose deaths in the state last year, an increase of 57 from the previous high set last year.
According to the data, the death rate rose by 2.5% year over year, from from 32.7 out of 100,000 residents in 2021 to 35 per 100,000 in 2022.
The rate has risen 9.1% since the pre-pandemic peak in 2016, health officials said.
“The increase in opioid-related overdose deaths is a tragedy and alarming,” Health Commissioner Robert Goldstein said. “We know overdose deaths are preventable. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on mental health and substance use, especially among marginalized communities.”
The largest increase in opioid-related overdose deaths was among non-Hispanic Black residents, according to the Health Department. That population saw a 42% rate increase, from 36.4 deaths per 100,000 residents to 51.7 deaths per 100,000 residents.
The data also shows that 47% of deaths in 2022 were among people between 25 and 44 years of age. Additionally, 72% of overdose deaths were men.
The counties with the biggest increases in opioid-related deaths were Worcester and Plymouth, the report found. Researchers noted that Norton and Taunton had “notable” decreases in opioid-related deaths between 2021 and 2022.
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