The community gathered to recognize the 2,290 overdose deaths in Massachusetts last year during the first annual International Overdose Awareness Day Vigil.. According to the State’s Department of Public Health, the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts rose to 2,290 last year–an almost nine percent increase from 2020. The state data also shows fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, was detected in 93 percent of the deaths where a toxicology screen was available, a rise from 40 percent in 2014. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is commonly distributed through illegal drug markets and many people may not even know their drugs are laced with fentanyl. On Wednesday, August 31st, Needham hosted its first observation of International Overdose Awareness Day, spearheaded by the Becca Schmill Foundation. People gathered to remember the lives lost to overdoses, and share stories, facts and resources that can save a life.