A report recently released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found 48 people died in New Bedford in 2015 as a direct result of an opioid overdose.

That's up from 27 opioid related deaths in 2014.

Speaking on his weekly radio program, Mayor Jon Mitchell said that the numbers are a cause for concern but he's hopeful that recently passed legislation can help to reverse those trends.

"It's still too early to tell the impact of the new legislation concerning prescription drug prescribing will have on these trends in the short term, in the long term I think it will help out alot," said Mitchell "but it's still a constant battle."

Mayor Mitchell said that the problem isn't unique to New Bedford saying that communities across Southeastern Massachusetts have been hit particularly hard by the epidemic.

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