The Mashpee Police Department responded to 37 opiate overdoses in 2020, with seven of those overdoses proving fatal.
The overdose victims, 27 of them male and 10 of them female, ranged in age from 19 to 56.
The department administered the overdose drug naloxone 25 times.
According to data provided by the department, Mashpee police responded to the same amount of opiate overdoses in 2019, but only two of those cases proved fatal. The seven deaths in 2020 were more than the past three years combined.
Mashpee Police Captain Thomas A. Rose said he is hesitant to speculate on why overdose deaths rose last year, but the rise matches trends in the region.
It is difficult to determine whether the rise can be attributed to “a bad batch” of drugs because the deaths are not concentrated around a specific time period, he said.
According to the department, police responded to overdoses that resulted in death in January, April, May, June and August.
Captain Rose said he sees the rise as an anomaly that may be related to changes in behavior due to the pandemic. With people spending more time alone, he said, they may not have friends close by to call for timely help in the event of an overdose.
“Obviously something has happened,” he said. “Not just locally, but nationally as well.”