Report: Heroin overdose deaths down in Massachusetts

The Globe offers an advance on a Boston substance abuse survey that reports a decline in city heroin overdose deaths from 2007 to -2008.  The state also reports a drop in the same period, after a two-year spike in overdose deaths.

Click below for a 2010 radio report from Boston Health News on the program that distributes overdose prevention drugs to users. Both the city and the state credit the program for the drop in fatalities.

For more on the Narcan program, listen to this September 2010 report:


From the Globe

Deaths from heroin and  opiate abuse plunged in Boston after the city launched a controversial program in 2006 that supplies addicts with medicine to reverse their overdose, according to a report to be released today by the Boston Public Health Commission.

The report says the death rate dropped by 32 percent between 2007 and 2008, the most recent year for which data are available – a decrease that specialists said bucks the national trend.

Since 2006, the city has distributed the overdose drug Narcan to 2,080 people and has recorded 215 cases in which overdoses were reversed, a city health official said yesterday.

Opioid overdose  deaths were down statewide over the same time period, 2007 to 2008. From the state Bureau of Health Information, Statistics, Research, and Evaluation:

Opioids, including heroin, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and methadone, continue to be the agent most associated with poisoning deaths (69%). This year there was a drop in the number of opioid deaths—43 fewer deaths, from 637 to 594. While this change did not achieve statistical significance, it is important to note that this drop may reflect the effectiveness of the Departments focused efforts to reduced opioid overdoses, including the OpioidOverdose Prevention and Reversal Program, which began in 2008.


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