BOSTON (AP) — State health officials say the number of people who died from opioid-related overdoses in Massachusetts has fallen for a second consecutive year.
The report issued Wednesday by the Department of Public Health also shows that fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, was present in nearly nine of 10 deaths in 2018. The presence of fentanyl in toxicology reports has been rising steadily for five years.READ MORE: Justice Breyer Rejects Mass General Brigham Employees' Request To Block Vaccine Mandate
There were 1,617 confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths in 2018 and as many as 394 suspected deaths. The department says that’s a 4 percent drop from the number of confirmed and probable deaths the previous year.READ MORE: Break-In Suspect Killed In Shootout With Seekonk Police Identified As Jeffrey Groulx
Fatal overdoses declined 2 percent from 2016 to 2017.
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker called the reduction in deaths encouraging, while adding that the opioid epidemic remains a “very serious challenge” in Massachusetts.MORE NEWS: 'Your Life Does Not End Because You Have A Diagnosis': Shantel Smith Opens Up About Her Battle With Multiple Sclerosis Before 'Survivor'
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