SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- There are new details on the opioid epidemic.

The death rate has fallen four percent across the state. That’s the good news.

However, in western Massachusetts, cities like Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee have seen noticeable increases.

"I'm just trying to fight for my life really and trying to stay sober," said 25-year-old Breana Rynn.

Rynn has struggled with a heroin addiction for seven years.

"It's brought me to places I never thought I'd go. I've been homeless for countless years. It tore me away from family and loved ones. I've lost almost everything due to my addiction and it's been a really hard road," Rynn explained.

For the past nine months, Rynn has been receiving treatment at Right Choice Health Group in Springfield, a place that has offered her new hope in life.

"I'm just grateful for this place. It's helped me a lot. I haven't been sober this long in a while," Rynn added.

Rynn told Western Mass News there is a strong need for support, prevention, treatment, and recovery services for the state to continue to see the number of opioid-related overdose deaths decrease.

"A lot of my friends have actually overdosed. I've overdosed myself. Thank God for narcan because if not, I wouldn't be here," Rynn noted.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, in 2018, the total number of opioid-related overdose deaths was 2,033. That's 17 fewer deaths than 2017.

In 2016, there were 2,100 confirmed opioid-related overdose deaths.

"I think it is a true attribute to what’s going on in healthcare and that we’re outreaching to patients and making sure these clinics are in the communities and we want people getting treatment," said Sage Dow, nurse practitioner with Right Choice Health Group.

However, despite the decline, state health officials said there were still 497 overdose deaths in the first three months of 2019. That's a rate of at least five deaths a day and there's been an increase in opioid-related deaths in cities like Springfield, Chicopee, and Holyoke.

"Stigma is still out there. Negativity about addiction is still out there and people who are suffering sometimes have hesitations to come out because of fear of the stigma and fear of judgment or negativity," said Dr. Omar Faruk with Right Choice Health Group.

Rynn has an important message for anyone suffering from addiction.

"It is scary, but if you just put that fear aside and not let fear run your life, just put that fear aside for a little bit and have some faith to step in to treatment or detox, you'll see that there's a better life...a really better life," Rynn said.

Copyright 2019 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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