Attorney General Gurbir Grewal held a news conference to discuss New Jersey’s fight against the opioid epidemic. There were a lot of statistics mentioned, but the one that jumped out at me was the number of overdose deaths in 2017, 2750, which is almost 8 per day, up 24% from 2016.

As reported in, prescriptions for legal opiates have been trending down (they are down 40% since 2014) at the same time overdose deaths are rising. Also, the use of Naloxone is also on the rise, with an expected 14,000 doses administered this year. Given all that, why are overdoses still rising? The likely variable that accounts for this paradox is fentanyl. Fentanyl is “100 times more potent” than heroin or morphine and fentanyl accounted for half the overdoses, up from 44% in 2016.

To stem the tide, the state hopes that Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), which they believe to be the most effective treatment, will become more widely available.

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