Apr 17, 2017 Clinical Essentials from MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep
- Fentanyl is involved in the majority of opioid overdose deaths in southeastern Massachusetts, according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
- The majority of respondents who survived overdose had administered or observed administration of naloxone (Narcan).
Why this matters
- Health officials should expand existing overdose education programs to include fentanyl-specific messaging.
- Access to naloxone should be increased.
- 196 overdose deaths were investigated in 3 counties with serious opioid overdoses in southeastern Massachusetts (2014-2016).
- Researchers also interviewed 64 adults who had used opioids in the last year and had observed or experienced an overdose in the past 6 mo.
- Funding: Massachusetts Department of Public Health and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Among 190 opioid overdose deaths, the proportion involving fentanyl increased from 32% during 2013-2014 to 74% in the first 6 mo of 2016.
- 82% of fentanyl-involved deaths were from illicitly manufactured fentanyl.
- 36% displayed evidence that overdose occurred within seconds or minutes.
- 7 5% of living respondents reported successful reversal of overdose with naloxone.
- Because the study was restricted to 3 counties in southeastern Massachusetts, results may lack generalizability to other US counties.
Somerville NJ, O'Donnell J, Gladden RM, Zibbell JE, Green TC, Younkin M, Ruiz S, BabakhanlouChase H, Chan M, Callis BP, Kuramoto-Crawford J, Nields HM, Walley AY. Characteristics of Fentanyl Overdose - Massachusetts, 2014-2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017;66(14):382-386. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6614a2. PMID: 28406883
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