Drug overdose deaths see first decline in decades

By | July 17, 2019

Drug overdose deaths declined in 2018 after years of increases, according to preliminary government data released Wednesday.

“The latest provisional data on overdose deaths show that America’s united efforts to curb opioid use disorder and addiction are working,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. “Lives are being saved, and we’re beginning to win the fight against this crisis.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics concluded, based on the provisional data, that overdose deaths declined by 5.1% between 2017 to 2018. The steepest declines occurred primarily in areas that have been hit hardest by the opioid crisis, such as Ohio, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Alaska.

The fight against drug-related deaths is far from over, Azar said. Overdose deaths from cocaine reached almost 14,000 in 2017, and cocaine production has hit a historic high.

“President Trump and HHS will continue to provide the resources and support communities, families, and individuals in our collective efforts to prevent and treat addiction,” Azar said.