February 21 2018

Middlesex County Ranks High On List for Opioid Overdose Deaths

By: Rich Hosford

New research shows that Middlesex County has a higher than average number of opioid deaths.


The Pew Charitable Trust recently conducted a study of the 44 counties in the country that have over 1 million people and calculated the number of overdose deaths in 2016 per 100,000 residents. Middlesex County, with 24.3 overdose deaths per 100,000 residents, ranked 9th overall in the country. The median number of overdose deaths in the 44 counties was 13.


Middlesex County also leads Massachusetts in terms of overdose fatalities. According to a list put out by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that counted the number of deaths from 2010-2016, Middlesex County had 2,578 incidents. Comparatively, Suffolk County, number two on the list, had 1,814 overdose deaths in that timeframe. Essex County had 1,764 overdose deaths, Worcester County had 1,690, Bristol had 1,634 and Norfolk had 1,275. See the full list.


As the opioid epidemic has become increasingly more deadly and widespread, local officials and volunteers have attempted to help those suffering from addiction. In Burlington police worked with former addicts to create Burlington Overcoming Addiction, a support group for people addicted to opioids and their family members. The group meets from 7 -8 p.m. on Tuesdays at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 10 St. Mark's Road. Click here for more information on the group.


The Burlington Police Department also joined the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (P.A.A.R.I.) and received an AmeriCorps grant from P.A.A.R.I. to bring on a full-time program coordinator and a part-time recovery coach to enhance the department’s substance abuse prevention and recovery efforts.

Thanks to the grant, the department welcomed Margie Taylor and Jackie Tayabji as Burlington Police Department’s new full-time program coordinator and new part-time recovery coach, respectively.


The program is intended to keep people out of jail. P.A.A.R.I./AmeriCorps members work to build the capacity of law enforcement programs and assist those suffering from substance use disorders by connecting them to treatment and recovery services that divert them from the criminal justice system. Read about it.


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