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New Report Takes Aim at Opioid Abuse in Massachusetts

In response to what many see as a growing opioid abuse problem in the state of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Health Council (MHC) recently released a report outlining several approaches toward combating opioid abuse and tackling statewide abuse of other substances including marijuana and alcohol.

An April 2014 report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) states that the number of unintentional opioid-related deaths per 100,000 state residents rose from 5.3 in 2000 to 10.1 in 2012. In 2013, there were 902 confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths of Massachusetts residents, according to an MDPH report from December of 2014.

The MHC report cites several challenges that have contributed to the state’s inability to keep opioid overdoses minimized, including a lack of volunteers for local and state programs, the lack of a formal steering committee to attack the problem systematically and a simple lack of focus on the problem due to other priorities across local communities.

Proposed solutions in the report include mandating and more rigidly enforcing the use of the state’s prescription drug monitoring program, creating a comprehensive online repository of resources and developing prevention education programs for all ages.

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