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State police say at least 185 people have died from suspected heroin overdoses in Massachusetts since Nov. 1, a figure that does not even include overdose deaths in the state's three largest cities.
Although there are no comparable figures for overdose deaths in the same period last year, a state police spokesman says ODs are on the rise.
David Procopio says "experience and accumulated knowledge" indicates that the numbers represent an increased rate of fatal heroin overdoses.
The number of heroin-related deaths in Boston, Worcester and Springfield was not readily available.
According to the state Department of Public Health's annual statewide figures, the number of opioid-related deaths increased from 363 in 2000 to 642 in 2011, the most recent year that data was compiled.