Massachusetts Statistics

Opioid overdose is a serious public health problem in Massachusetts.

Two people die from opioid overdoses every day in Massachusetts.

More people are killed by opioid overdoses in Massachusetts than by car accidents.

In 2007, there were over 6 times more deaths due to opioid-related overdoses than in 1990.

For every death due to an opioid overdose in 2007, there were 47 people who were treated for an overdose and lived.

In 2003, 2 out of 3 (66%) opioid-related deaths in Boston Were caused by the misuse of opioids other than heroin, such as OxyContin and other prescription drugs.In Fiscal Year 2007, there were 18,015 people who were treated for an overdose and lived.

The cost for people being hospitalized due to opioid dependence, abuse, and/or overdose totaled more than $239 million in 2007.In 1992, 325 people were treated for abuse of opioids other than heroin (such as OxyContin and other prescription drugs). In 2002, that number jumped to 3,089 people. This is a 950% increase.


*Sources:  “Opioids: Trends and Current Status in Massachusetts,” Massachusetts Department of Public HealthBureau of Health Information, Statistics, Research, and Evaluation and the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, 2009

DAWN data “Massachusetts Oxycontin Commission: Final Report” 2009

Tips for Calling

  • Have the address and location of where you are handy.
  • Stay calm, and ask others around you to be quiet.
  • Let them know, “my friend has overdosed.”  If you don’t want to mention drugs or overdose, tell them, “my friend is not breathing.”
  • Follow the instructions of the operator and paramedics as closely as you can.
  • If you have to leave the person for any reason, put them in the recovery position.