- Associated Press - Monday, November 7, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - Overdose deaths related to heroin are declining in Massachusetts as fatal overdoses linked to the use of fentanyl are on the rise.

State health officials said Monday that overall there were 1,005 confirmed cases of unintentional opioid overdose deaths during the first nine months of 2016. Up to 470 suspected opioid-related deaths may still be added to that total.

That’s outstripping the pace set during the first nine months of 2015.

Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said the numbers are a sobering reminder of why the opioid crisis remains a top public health priority.

The report released Monday also updated the number of confirmed cases of unintentional opioid overdose deaths last year to 1,574.

The report found a steady increase in the number of opioid-related cases requiring EMS transports.

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