Overdose deaths have fallen throughout the state, doubled in parts of Western Massachusetts


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Deaths from overdose fell in the state last year, but that was not the case in parts of Western Massachusetts.

The Department of Health found that deaths from overdoses throughout the state fell slightly, but those deaths doubled in part of Western Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health registered a one percent decrease in the number of deaths from opioids in 2018, almost all with fentanyl. But the provinces of Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin all saw a significant increase in the number of deaths from drugs last year.

"I am not an infamous nefarious heroin addict," said Jessie Estello of Greenfield. "I've been there, I've done it. But you know what? Other people need help. I'm 53 years old, Trust me, I take care of business, but other people aren't like me, they need help. & # 39;

From 2017 to 2018, the study found a 144 percent increase in deaths from overdoses in Franklin County, an 84 percent increase in Hampshire County, and an almost 30 percent increase in Hampden County.

The study has also broken down city-by-city mortality. They found 108 overdoses occurred in Springfield in 2018 in general, but only 80 of those people were from Springfield.

"Numbers are a little crooked," said Springfield police spokesman Ryan Walsh. "So if someone came to Baystate or Mercy and died here in the city, those numbers would count against the city of Springfield."

Walsh said the department's own overdose numbers do not match DPH.

"Obviously there is a heroin epidemic, there is an opioid crisis," Walsh added. "We see it, we just see the trends like this. The figures that our crime analysts have nowhere so much reflect & # 39; n trend. & # 39;

The Springfield police just started wearing Narcan two months ago. Walsh said that officers have already saved 10 people with the drug so far.

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