BOSTON (AP) — The number of estimated opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts continues to rise.

State health officials say an estimated 1,256 people died from opioid-related overdoses in 2014, significantly higher than an earlier confirmed total of 1,047.

The number of deaths in 2015 represents a 57 percent increase over the confirmed 668 deaths recorded in 2012 and a 15 percent increase over the estimated 939 death in 2013.

Department of Public Health officials say the estimated rate of unintentional opioid-related overdose deaths ”“ which includes deaths related to heroin ”“ reached levels previously unseen in Massachusetts last year.

The estimated rate of 18.6 deaths per 100,000 residents for 2014 is the highest ever for unintentional opioid overdoses and represents a 250 percent increase from the rate of 5.3 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2000.



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