Mixed grades for Mass. in health report
While Massachusetts has seen a drop in violent crime, childhood obesity, and some diseases, the rate of fatal opioid overdoses has continued to rise, resulting in an increase of more than 90 percent since 2000, according to a biennial wellness report released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Health Council .
Last year, there were 674 confirmed opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts, according to the “Common Health for the Commonwealth’’ report, based on 12 categories of health indicators, including obesity, asthma, tobacco use, poverty, and access to care, compiled from across the state.
“The opioid crisis we raised an alarm on two years ago has continued to hit the state hard,” the nonprofit coalition’s executive director, Susan Servais, said in an announcement on the report’s release. “If we hope to turn the tide on substance abuse and address persistent health disparities, we need to recommit ourselves to community-based prevention policies.”
According to data in the report, murder rates across the state fell by 34 percent between 2011 and 2012, and other violent crimes were down 4.5 percent, the report stated.
Tobacco use fell between 2011 and 2012, and binge drinking by adults remained stable between 2000 and 2013, according to the report.
Although Massachusetts is one of 18 states to have lowered obesity rates among children in low-income families, significant disparities still exist between children of different races and ethnicities, according to data from the 2011-12 school year, the report stated.
And while rates of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C are falling, asthma among children is on the rise, affecting nearly a quarter of high school students last year, it found.
Additionally, the report outlines policy recommendations for dealing with risky health trends statewide, including the ongoing opioid crisis.