The number of people who died from drug overdoses in the United States dropped in 2018, marking the first decline in nearly three decades, according to figures released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on July 17.
The government estimates that 68,557 people died from overdoses in 2018, down from 72,224 in 2017. The drop is driven by the reduction in prescription opioid overdose deaths.
Meanwhile, overdose deaths involving fentanyl and cocaine continue to soar.
“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.”
“While the declining trend of overdose deaths is an encouraging sign, by no means have we declared victory against the epidemic or addiction in general,” Azar added. “This crisis developed over two decades and it will not be solved overnight.” read more