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What Trump's New Opioid Commission Means For Massachusetts07:46
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This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo, shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. More than 28,000 Americans died from overdosing on opiates in 2014, a record high for the nation. That’s 78 people per day, a number that doesn’t include the millions of family members, first responders and even taxpayers who feel the ripple of drug addiction in their daily lives. A rise in prescription painkillers is partially to blame: The sale of these drugs has quadrupled since 1999, and so has the number of Americans dying from an addiction to them. When prescriptions run out, people find themselves turning to the cheaper alternative heroin and, increasingly, the even more deadly drug fentanyl. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
This Feb. 19, 2013, file photo, shows OxyContin pills arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. More than 28,000 Americans died from overdosing on opiates in 2014, a record high for the nation. That’s 78 people per day, a number that doesn’t include the millions of family members, first responders and even taxpayers who feel the ripple of drug addiction in their daily lives. A rise in prescription painkillers is partially to blame: The sale of these drugs has quadrupled since 1999, and so has the number of Americans dying from an addiction to them. When prescriptions run out, people find themselves turning to the cheaper alternative heroin and, increasingly, the even more deadly drug fentanyl. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)
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This week, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said that the number of deaths caused by opioid-related overdoses last year is projected to top 2,000 for the first time in the Commonwealth.

That means that each day, an average of nearly six people inject or snort a drug, and never wake up.

Marylou Sudders, the state's Secretary of Human Services, responded to the new numbers, saying, "The fact that the absolute number would appear to be just over 2,000 in 2016 is a sobering reminder that we still have a lot more work to do to bend the trend of opioid death."

We learned of those numbers as President Trump named five members to a White House Commission to combat the opioid crisis, including Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, and former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy.

Guest

Martha Bebinger, reporter for WBUR. She tweets @mbebinger.

This segment aired on May 11, 2017.

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