- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2017

BOSTON (AP) - State troopers in Massachusetts investigated 877 deaths suspected of being caused by opioids last year - an increase of 16 percent from 2015.

The Boston Globe reports (http://bit.ly/2kJ5GS1) men accounted for more than three-fourths of those opioid-related deaths. The average age of the victims was 37 years old.

Overdose deaths made up more than one-fifth of the fatalities investigated by troopers last year.

State police investigated 756 opioid overdose deaths in 2015.

Authorities are attributing the increase to an influx of the powerful painkiller fentanyl.

Yearly data doesn’t include Boston, Worcester (WUS’-tur), Springfield or Pittsfield.

Further details on overdose deaths are expected next month. State public health officials plan to release the number of opioid-related fatalities recorded during the last three months of 2016.

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This story has been corrected to show the percentage increase in number of state trooper investigations into opioid deaths.

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Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com

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