A health official in Springfield, Massachusetts, said she was surprised by a jump in the number of opioid overdose deaths in the city, and she doesn't know why it happened.
Annual deaths from opioid overdoses in Springfield almost doubled in 2018 — from 56 to 108. That's while they declined in a majority of cities and towns across the state.
City Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris said she doesn't have enough information to explain what caused the increase.
"We have numbers that are raw numbers, but the numbers really don't tell the story," she said. "I don't have the information on which neighborhoods were most impacted, race ethnicity information."
Caulton-Harris said she has asked the Massachusetts Department of Public of Health for all the data they have on the deaths, so her department can develop strategies to bring the number down.
Other cities in western Massachusetts that saw increases in opioid deaths include Greenfield, Chicopee, Holyoke and Northampton.
This report comes from the New England News Collaborative: eight public media companies, including The Public's Radio, coming together to tell the story of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.