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The Opioid Crisis: Massachusetts is Struggling

Facts on Opioid Addiction in Massachusetts:

  • Opioids are a class of drugs found in the opium poppy plant. They are commonly used as painkillers.
  • The most commonly used opioids are: OxyContin and Percocet (oxycodone), Vicodin (hydrocodone), Abstral, Fentora, and Duragesic (fentanyl), heroin, Duramorph (morphine), Demerol (meperidine) and Belbuca (buprenorphine).
  • Massachusetts has one of the highest opioid overdose rates in the United States.
  • In 2018, there were an estimated 1,974 fatal overdoses involving opioids in Massachusetts.
  • Fentanyl-related deaths continue to increase. Fentanyl was present in 89% of 1,974 drug fatal overdoses in 2018.
  • It is estimated that over 4% of Massachusetts is addicted to opioids.

Opioid-Related Deaths by Occupation:

  • From 2011 to 2015 there were 150.6 deaths per 100,000 workers in construction and extraction industries. This rate accounts for roughly 24% of the working population in Massachusetts. The construction and extraction industry has an opioid death rate that is 6 times the average rate for Massachusetts workers.
  • Workers in the farming, forestry, and fishery industries died at a rate of 143.9 per 100,000 workers. The farming, forestry, and fishery industries have an opioid death rate 5 times the average rate for Massachusetts workers.

Side Effects of Opioid Use:

  • Poor Coordination
  • Physical agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Euphoria
  • Slowed breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation

Symptoms of Overdose:

  • Unresponsive
  • Slowed breathing
  • Erratic or no pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Small pupils
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Increased anxiety
  • Psychosis
  • Decreased appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping

Risks Linked to Opioids:

  • Heart complications
  • Physical dependency (addiction)
  • Respiratory depression
  • Overdose and death
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