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Fatal overdoses in Massachusetts drop by over 10%, new CDC data shows

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Fatal overdoses in Massachusetts drop by over 10%, new CDC data shows


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The state attributed the drop to its harm reduction programs, like distributing naloxone to the community.

John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

Fatal opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts decreased by over 10% in 2023, marking the first annual decrease in four years, preliminary data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show. 

Overdose fatalities decreased from about 2,647 in 2022 to 2,373 reported between December 2022 and December 2023. Nationally, reported deaths decreased by 5.1%. 

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Opioids like fentanyl and morphine remained the most deadly threat to residents of Massachusetts, but deaths involving opioids decreased significantly from December of 2022, according to the CDC. Deaths caused by cocaine and methadone increased slightly, data show.

The state’s Department of Public Health (DPH) said it continues to invest in harm reduction programs like expanding access to naloxone, fentanyl test trips, and sterile consumption supplies. Just in 2023, more than 262,100 naloxone doses were distributed through community-level naloxone distribution programs and more than 9,100 overdoses were reversed using the medication, DPH said. 

Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, binds to opioid receptors and rapidly reverses the effects of other opioids. In March 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Narcan nasal spray for over the counter use.

Communities of color facing outsized impact

Despite the overall decrease in deaths, DPH said that more needs to be done to protect communities of color, which suffer the brunt of fatal overdoses. 

In 2022, overdoses rose by about 2.5%, with Black, non-Hispanic people making up the largest increase, according to DHP data.

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To combat inequity, the state plans to continue operating peer recovery support centers and funding Mobile Addiction Service programs in Brockton and Lowell, which provide medical care and harm reduction services to individuals at high risk of overdose.

In March, the Healey-Driscoll administration also launched a grant program for substance abuse prevention, targeting historically underserved communities.

2023 is the first time annual opioid deaths have decreased in the state since 2019. The latest figure is still an increase of about 7.9% when compared to 2019, according to CDC data. 

This is the eighth year the Commonwealth will surpass 2,000 opioid overdose deaths per year. It surpassed the figure for the first time in 2016. 

All New England states saw a drop in fatal overdoses in 2023. In Connecticut, deaths dropped by 10%; New Hampshire by 13%; Maine by 16%; Vermont by 8%;  and Rhode Island by 15%. 

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Massachusetts

Natick Resident Earns Prestigious MassBay Award

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Natick Resident Earns Prestigious MassBay Award


News release from MassBay Community College.

WELLESLEY HILLS, MA — MassBay Community College 2024 graduate Michal Grinis of Natick, MA, has been awarded the esteemed Foster Furcolo Award. This Award is presented annually to one graduate from each of Massachusetts’ 15 community colleges who exemplifies outstanding academic achievement, leadership and commitment to community service. The Scholarship is accompanied by a two-year scholarship covering tuition and most mandatory fees to attend the University of Massachusetts Boston.

The Foster Furcolo Scholarship is named after Massachusetts’ 60th Governor, John Foster Furcolo. Governor Furcolo was the first Italian American governor of the Commonwealth, an active promoter of community colleges, and a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1949–1952.

“This scholarship means the world to me because this is my future,” said Grinis. “I am thankful and proud, but was shocked when I received word I had been selected as the 2024 recipient because there were many qualified applicants. When I filled out my application, I thought it would be a slim chance I would be noticed. This shows the importance of sharing your story and raising your voice. Whenever you do that, you will stand out and someone will recognize your hard work.”

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Grinis moved to the United States when she was 11 years old and faced numerous challenges when she and her family relocated for her father’s job, including learning a new language, meeting new friends, and navigating a new community. Her journey to academic success is a reflection of her resilient spirit and determination to reach her goals. Grinis considered various paths after graduating from Natick High, but following in her sister’s footsteps, she came to MassBay to find a career path.

“My family has been an instrumental support system, giving me the confidence to pursue my goals. My dad, in particular, has played a very important and inspirational role in my life. Without my dad’s foresight to come here and start from zero, to create a new life for our family, I would not be here.”

In addition to her family, Grinis credits her advisor for helping her rediscover her love for the law and helping her pivot her career track. “I initially came to MassBay to take classes for a year and then transfer, but I found a supportive community that wanted to help me succeed and find my passion in life. My advisor, Cheryl MacMillian, was always available and helpful in guiding me,” she said. “Also, with MassBay Transfer Advisor Karen Akukwe’s help with coordinating all the details to transfer to UMass Boston, I was able to reach my goals and move at my own pace to get where I wanted to be.”

Grinis will be graduating from MassBay in May with her Associate in Arts degree in Liberal Arts. She will transfer to UMass Boston to pursue a bachelor’s in political science with the goal of attending law school and becoming an attorney.



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Massachusetts State Police arrest alleged drug traffickers in possession of multiple guns, magazines, ammunition

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Massachusetts State Police arrest alleged drug traffickers in possession of multiple guns, magazines, ammunition


State Troopers have arrested two Massachusetts men on a list of charges.

According to Massachusetts State Police, in the early morning hours of May 12th, Trooper Austin Rose was conducting traffic enforcement on Route 27 in Brockton as part of the SP Milton-Barracks midnight shift. While in traffic, Trooper Rose clocked a Toyota SUV travelling 10 miles per hour above the posted speed limit.

 

Trooper Rose conducted a traffic stop of the Toyota which had turned onto Westgate Drive and approached the operator, 20-year-old Jaziah Rivera of Weymouth. When asked by Trooper Rose if Rivera knew the speed limit, Rivera gave confused responses and handed Trooper Rose his entire wallet instead of his driver’s license. Trooper Rose also smelled an odor of burned marijuana emanating from the interior of the vehicle.

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Trooper Rose asked Rivera about the contents of two bags in the rear seats of the vehicle. Rivera and a passenger of the vehicle agreed to show Trooper Rose the contents of the bags. After showing Trooper Rose the contents of the first bag, Rivera grabbed the second bag and tried stuffing the contents deeper into the zippered pockets. Rivera placed the bag on his lap and continued to manipulate what was inside without showing Trooper Rose. Uncertain of what could be contained inside and for the safety of those on scene, Trooper Rose removed the bag from Rivera’s lap and placed it onto the hood of the Toyota.

 

Now backed up by Trooper Autumn Mederios, Trooper Rose shined his flashlight onto the bag and was able to see a pistol magazine inside. The Troopers ordered Rivera and his passenger out of the vehicle and placed them into handcuffs. Neither Rivera nor his passenger possessed a license to carry firearms. Rivera and the passenger were secured in cruisers on scene.

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With the discovery of the loaded magazine, Troopers Nathan Pereira, Matthew McCarthy, and John Buckley responded to Westgate Drive. Trooper Rose returned to the bag on the hood and removed a 30-round 9mm Glock magazine, and several digital scales with a white powder residue.

 

A search of the vehicle discovered a tan Glock 17 with an inserted 17-round magazine, a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun with an inserted 17-round magazine and round in the chamber, an additional 30-round 9mm magazine, two 17-round 9mm magazines, a 6-round 9mm magazine, thirty-nine 9mm rounds, and several bags of crack cocaine. An additional bag of crack was discovered on the passenger’s person, totaling nearly 19 grams within the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop.

Jaziah Rivera and his passenger, 18-year-old Jazavier Rivera of Brockton, were placed under arrest and transported to the Milton barracks to be booked, fingerprinted, and photographed.

Jaziah Rivera and Jazavier Rivera were arraigned in Brockton District Court on charges of Trafficking In Cocaine, Conspiracy To Violate Drug Law, Possession Of A Firearm Without FID, Possession Of Ammunition Without FID, Possession Of A Large Capacity Firearm During A Felony Offense, Possession Of A Large Capacity Feeding Device, and Carrying A Loaded Firearm.

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 Jaziah Rivera faces further charges of Possession Of A Large Capacity Feeding Device (Two Additional Counts) and Speeding.



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Median price for Massachusetts home now $950,000 and more top stories

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Median price for Massachusetts home now $950,000 and more top stories


Median price for Massachusetts home now $950,000 and more top stories – CBS Boston

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