Overdose Awareness Day: People impacted by addiction epidemic plant purple flags on Boston Common

BOSTON — Advocates and families impacted by the addiction epidemic commemorated Overdose Awareness Day on Monday by planting purple flags on Boston Common.

Volunteers, including Gov. Charlie Baker, were seen planting more than 20,000 flags in honor of those who have lost their lives to overdoses in the past 10 years.

The rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts increased by 8.8 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, according to state health officials.

There were 2,290 confirmed and estimated opioid-related overdose deaths in 2021, an estimated 185 more deaths than the prior year.

Data released earlier this summer showed fentanyl was present at a rate of 93 percent where a toxicology report was available.

Massachusetts remains focused on the opioid epidemic and continues to invest millions of dollars to expand a wide range of harm reduction, substance use awareness, treatment intervention, and recovery services.

The Fiscal Year 2023 budget passed by the Legislature and signed by Baker last month invests $597.2 million in total funding for a wide range of services that support individuals struggling with substance addiction and programs that work to prevent substance addiction through education, prescription monitoring, and more.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW

Comments on this article