Updated on: 11/14/2022


Addiction - Opioid Use

Data show that interventions to address opioid addiction need to be tailored to ensure that all residents benefit.

Note: Hispanic is used to reflect current data collection practices. We acknowledge this may not be the preferred term. Throughout this report, NH refers to Non-Hispanic. People of color refers to individuals identifying as Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Other. Unless otherwise noted, adults are ages 18+. Data are most recently available for the specified data source.

Opioid-Related Overdose Death Rates (2014-2020)

Death rates continue to rise for Black male residents and remain high among Hispanic male residents.

Among females, death rates were highest for White residents.

Data were insufficient for Asian, NH females. For more information see Opioid-related Overdose Deaths among MA Residents

Equity Spotlight

Interventions to address the opioid epidemic have been successful in disrupting the rise in overdose deaths overall. However, breaking down the data by race/ethnicity clearly shows the need to tailor interventions to ensure that Black and Hispanic residents also benefit.

Median age for clients reporting opioids as their primary substance at the time of their first BSAS admission, FY 2017-2021

When opioids* were reported as the primary substance of use at time of first admission, median age of Black, non-Hispanic clients was generally the oldest among all race/ethnicity groups for FY2017-2021.**

*Opioid includes Heroin, Fentanyl, Non-Rx Opiates, Rx opiates and other Opiates.

**FY2020-2021 admissions were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


AAPI, NH includes Asian American, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian - who are not Hispanic.

Other, NH includes those who identified as Other or American Indian/Alaska Native - who are not Hispanic.

Multiracial, NH are those who indicated more than one race - who are not Hispanic.


Enrollments into addiction treatment programs licensed and/or contracted with the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services. First Enrollment means the client's first lifetime admission to BSAS treatment was during specified time period.

Data reported to the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services (BSAS) as of June 3, 2022.
For more information see BSAS Substance Addiction Treatment Data.

Download the raw data (accessible version) used to create these visualizations.

Indicator selection

This report gathered equity metrics found throughout DPH published data reports in one common location. When choosing the indicators to feature in this dashboard, we focused on publicly available data and the State Health Assessment (SHA) priority indicators. In some instances proxy measures were used if race/ethnicity data were limited (e.g. Hepatitis B Vaccinations Rates in place of Viral Hepatitis Prevalence Rates). Only indicators that had sufficient data for breakdowns by race/ethnicity were included.

Time-frame for Data Shown

In all cases, the most recent data for each indicator are incorporated. For some topics (e.g. hospitalizations for various causes), only older data are available by race/ethnicity. However, the goal of this dashboard is to capture the current experiences of this priority population. As such, the years of data presented are different for each chart; we opted for the most recent data available over using the same (older) year across all indicators in the report

Race/Ethnicity Group Definition and Data Collection

This report presents race/ethnicity data as it is collected and defined by each source. DPH complies with the the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Standards and have adapted the recommendations to capture this information. We acknowledge that the race/ethnicity breakdowns presented here may not reflect each group's preferred terms. We recognize that race groups are not monolithic. Grouping into larger categories (e.g. Asian) and grouping Hispanic separately (e.g. Black and Hispanic is not a category in this report) is problematic and may not fully capture the experiences specific groups have. Data on language and disability status are not reflected in this version of the report but we plan to include these in future versions. Detailed information on the specific race/ethnicity group definitions and data collection practices can be found using the links to data sources provided for each chart. The DPH Race/Ethnicity/Language Data Standards Guide provides information on current department wide minimum compliance for collecting, defining, and reporting this information.

Data Suppression

For some charts, race/ethnicity groups may not be shown. This varies by data source and reflects insufficient sample size to support reliable estimates or suppression to protect residents privacy. For more information on the DPH suppression guidelines, please see the Department of Public Health Confidentiality Procedures.

Current Analysis

Unless otherwise noted, the differences between race/ethnicity groups in this report are based on descriptive observations (i.e. estimates are higher or lower than others) and key findings for the data shown in charts do not represent statistically significant differences. Any language that indicates statistical significance is taken directly from reports that have performed these analyses separately from this dashboard. For more information on how analyses were performed and definitions for significance, please see the data source notes provided for each chart.

CI refers to Confidence Interval (if available), which describes the certainty of a value. The Department of Public Health uses a 95% confidence interval.

Future Plans

This initial report focuses on communities of color. Additional dashboards on the other priority populations will be created. We also plan to expand dashboard contents including adding more indicators, updating data currently included, and incorporating intersectionality of populations (e.g. data by race/ethnicity and sexual orientation/gender identity).

Visual representations of statistical significance and additional analytics to compare differences between groups will also be incorporated.