Beacon Transcript – Fentanyl, one of the available synthetic opioids, has been linked to the increasing number of Massachusetts overdose deaths as the nation is fighting against the high opioid addiction numbers.
A recent survey showed that Massachusetts registered this year alone an estimated number of 1,397 to 1,475 overdose deaths leading to a daily average of over five people.
As the use of illegal drugs and opioid pain medications are falling, most of the overdose deaths registered so far in Massachusetts have been linked to fentanyl.
The opioid was reportedly encountered in about 74 percent of the cases of both men and women overdoses registered in the state throughout the July – September period.
The fentanyl overdose growth and problem were revealed alongside the latest quarter reports of the Baker state administration.
Fentanyl, a synthetic product which is considered to be up to 50 times more potent than heroin, can be found in a number of other opioid products. It can be mixed with them and most patients are not even aware of their consuming it.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, just a small quantity of fentanyl would be enough so as to lead to the death of most Americans.
Statistics show that almost half of the overdose deaths registered during this year’s second quarter were a combination between fentanyl and a benzodiazepine.
Amongst them, one can include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. Another thirty percent of the overdoses presented traces of a speedball, a combination of the opioid and cocaine.
The opioid addiction numbers have been rising as the issue was declared the nation’s number one health problem after the number of overdoses and fatal incidents surpassed even that of accidents.
According to Marylou Sudders, Secretary of Health and Human Services, even though the numbers of heroin deaths are falling, the drug problem has not been resolved as the Massachusetts statistics go to show.
The state report showed that the number of prescribed drugs and high-level substances registered a decrease as compared to the same period last year.
But there was also a constant increase in the number of hospital Emergency Room opioid-related cases and also a rise in the number of naloxone administrations.
Naloxone is a drug overdose reversal which should usually work after just one dose. However, the reports have shown that a multiple number of administrations had to be performed on the overdose patients.
The quarter reports tend to show that men are most affected by the current overdose issues, especially young men, with 75 percent of the deaths being male patients. 31 percent of all the registered overdoses, non-fatal or deadly, were registered in men between 25 and 34 years old.
As the number of fentanyl deaths is on the rise, the aforementioned Sudders declared that local authorities will continue to focus and expand the state-wide access to treatment.
The state governor, Charlie Baker, also declared that the state will continue to use all available methods in the fight against this cycle of addiction, from prevention and education to treatment.
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