Senator Markey Statement on Latest Quarterly Data on Opioid Epidemic in Massachusetts
In the first quarter of 2017, fentanyl was present in 81% of opioid overdose deaths
Washington (August 22, 2017) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement after the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released new data today on opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts in the first six months of 2017. The new data reveals that the presence of fentanyl continued to rise, with the rate of fentanyl present in opioid-related deaths with a toxicology screen reaching 81 percent in the first quarter of 2017, from a low of 19 percent in the third quarter of 2014. Senator Markey has been focused on the flow of fentanyl into the United States from Mexico and China and has introduced legislation – the INTERDICT Act – that would provide U.S. Customs and Border Protection tools such as hi-tech chemical screening devices to help detect and interdict fentanyl and other illicit synthetic opioids. In March, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolutionintroduced by Senators Markey and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) that called for international cooperation to address the trafficking of illicit fentanyl into the United States.
“Fentanyl is presenting as the deadliest illicit opioid drug Massachusetts is facing,” said Senator Markey. “There is no easy solution, but we know we must stanch the flow of this drug across our borders before we lose an entire generation to this terrible opioid killer. My legislation, the INTERDICT Act, will give our first responders the tools they need to fight this fentanyl epidemic while also protecting our brave first responders who are on the front lines of this tragic epidemic.
“Now that a national public health emergency has been declared to combat the opioid crisis, I hope it will open the door to new emergency funding and expanded access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services for the Commonwealth and the entire country.”