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It shouldn’t be surprising that the state’s previous overriding public-health concern, substance abuse, hasn’t waned in the midst of this current coronavirus pandemic.That’s what the most recent Department of Public Health data tell us.
The DPH reported that the number of fatal opioid overdoses in the first nine months of this year exceeded those in the same time period in 2019.
An estimated 33 more people died from opioid overdoses in the first nine months of 2020 than in the same timeframe last year.
The 1,517 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths through September represent a 2% increase year over year.
It’s amazing that figure isn’t even higher.
The asterisk in the 2020 numbers accounts the probable effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which became a public-health crisis in March, disrupting the way all types of services and care — including health care — get delivered.
If the increase in fatalities holds through the rest of 2020, it would break the recent run of declining overdose deaths year over year.
The DPH report shows a total of 2,020 confirmed and estimated fatal opioid overdoses in 2019, down from 2,033 in 2018 and 2,051 in 2017, after a high of 2,102 in 2016.
And this current pandemic not only hasn’t curtailed …
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