New figures show Massachusetts remains in the throes of an opioid crisis with more than 1,500 deaths through the first nine months of 2018, most linked to the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.
The latest quarterly report on opioid-related deaths from the state Department of Public Health also points to some encouraging trends, including a slight drop in overdose deaths compared to last year and significant reductions in opioid prescriptions written.
The estimated 1,518 deaths through September compare to 1,538 in the first nine months of 2017.
The report says fentanyl was present in 90 percent of the toxicology reports in opioid deaths during the second quarter of the current year.
Officials say reported Schedule II opioid prescriptions in the third quarter were 35 percent lower than 2015 levels.