Updated on May 17, 2024
3 min read

Updated Drug and Alcohol Statistics for Massachusetts

Massachusetts has been grappling with a significant drug and alcohol addiction crisis, which has had far-reaching consequences for individuals, families, and communities across the state. This article presents an overview of the latest statistics on substance use disorders, the opioid crisis, overdose deaths, alcohol use and related issues, youth substance use, and challenges in treatment and recovery in Massachusetts, highlighting the urgent need for effective solutions.

  • There were 2,103 recorded opioid-involved deaths in Massachusetts from 2020 to 2021, with significant racial disparities observed.1
  • Alcohol causes 1 in 20 deaths in Massachusetts, with leading causes including poisoning, liver disease, and cancers attributable to alcohol use.2
  • Approximately 12.12% of Massachusetts residents reported past-month use of illicit drugs, higher than the national average.3

Substance Use and Disorders

Substance use disorders are prevalent in Massachusetts, affecting various age groups. Here are some key statistics:

  • From 2017 to 2019, the annual average rate of illicit drug use among people aged 12 or older was 3.0%.4
  • During the same period, the annual average rate of illicit drug use among youth aged 12–17 was 5.8%.4
  • The annual average rate of illicit drug use disorder among young adults aged 18–25 was 6.2% from 2017 to 2019.4
  • The annual average rate of substance use disorder among young adults was 13.2% during the same period.4
  • From 2017 to 2019, the annual average rate of past-year marijuana use was 28.6%.4

These numbers demonstrate the widespread nature of substance use issues across age groups in Massachusetts.

Opioid Crisis and Overdose Deaths

The opioid epidemic has hit Massachusetts particularly hard, with a high number of overdose deaths and racial disparities. Consider these troubling statistics:

  • There were 2,103 recorded opioid-involved deaths in Massachusetts from 2020 to 2021.1
  • Significant racial disparities were observed, with overdose deaths disproportionately affecting Black non-Hispanic residents.1

The alarming number of opioid-related deaths and the racial disparities underscore the urgent need to address this crisis through comprehensive prevention, treatment, and harm reduction strategies.

Sponsored

Online Therapy Can Help

Over 3 million people use BetterHelp. Their services are:

  • Professional and effective
  • Affordable and convenient
  • Personalized and discreet
  • Easy to start
Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Woman drinking coffee on couch

Alcohol Use and Related Issues

Alcohol use and related issues are significant concerns in Massachusetts, contributing to numerous deaths and health problems. Here are some relevant statistics:

  • Alcohol causes 1 in 20 deaths in Massachusetts, with leading causes including poisoning, liver disease, and cancers attributable to alcohol use.2
  • 44% of current drinkers aged 12 and above, and 63% of current underage drinkers (ages 12-20) binged in the past month.2

Addressing alcohol-related issues through prevention, treatment, and policy changes is crucial for improving public health in Massachusetts.

Get Professional Help

BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor.

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Rehab Together

Youth Substance Use

Substance use among young people in Massachusetts is a growing concern. Here is a relevant statistic:

  • 75.9% of middle school students perceived moderate to great risk from binge drinking, and 35.5% thought it was very or fairly easy to get alcohol.5

Early intervention and prevention efforts are crucial to help young people avoid developing substance use disorders.

Fentanyl-Related Overdose Deaths

Fentanyl has been a major contributor to the overdose crisis in Massachusetts, accounting for a significant proportion of deaths. Here is a key statistic:

  • In 2021, fentanyl was involved in more than 85% of overdose cases in Massachusetts.6
Massachusetts chart 1

The high percentage of fentanyl-related deaths highlights the need for targeted interventions to prevent and treat opioid addiction.

Phone, Video, or Live-Chat Support

BetterHelp provides therapy in a way that works for YOU. Fill out the questionnaire, get matched, begin therapy.

Get Started

Answer a few questions to get started

Woman drinking coffee on couch

Community and Prevention

Massachusetts has implemented various strategies to address the opioid crisis and prevent substance use disorders. These include:

  • The distribution of fentanyl test strips and funding for substance addiction prevention and treatment programs.7

Investing in evidence-based prevention programs and promoting community engagement can help reduce substance use and its associated harms.

Treatment and Recovery

Access to quality treatment and recovery services is essential for addressing substance use disorders in Massachusetts. Consider this statistic:

  • A significant percentage of Massachusetts residents above the age of twelve suffer from substance-use disorder, with efforts ongoing to improve treatment and recovery services.8

Expanding access to effective treatment and support for long-term recovery is crucial for helping individuals and communities affected by addiction in Massachusetts.

The statistics presented in this article paint a grim picture of the drug and alcohol addiction landscape in Massachusetts. From the devastating impact of the opioid crisis and the high rates of alcohol-related deaths to the concerning levels of youth substance use, it is clear that the state faces significant challenges in addressing this crisis. However, by prioritizing prevention, expanding access to quality treatment, and supporting long-term recovery, Massachusetts can work towards a healthier, more resilient future for all its residents.

Get matched with an affordable mental health counselor

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

betterhelp-logo
Updated on May 17, 2024
8 sources cited
Updated on May 17, 2024
  1. "Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths Among Massachusetts Residents During the COVID-19 Pandemic." JAMA Network Open, 2022.
  2. "Alcohol Causes 1 in 20 Deaths in Massachusetts." Boston University School of Public Health, 2022.
  3. "Massachusetts Drug Control Update." Executive Office of the President of the United States, accessed 2023.
  4. "Alcohol Causes 1 in 20 Deaths in Massachusetts." Boston University School of Public Health, 2022.
  5. "Results of the Massachusetts Youth Health Survey 2021." Massachusetts Department of Public Health, 2021.
  6. "BPHC reminds residents about dangers of opioids after 7% increase in fatal overdoses in Boston." City of Boston, 2022.
  7. "New report shows highest opioid-related death rate to date for Mass. in 2022." WGBH, 2023.
  8. "Opioids in Boston: A Changing Epidemic, A Continuing Crisis." Boston Indicators, 2018.

Related Pages