Drug Overdose Deaths See First Decline In Decades Thanks To Targeted Effort By Trump Admin

For the first time in decades, drug overdose deaths in the United States fell last year by 5.1%.

According to the preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than 68,000 drug overdose deaths in 2018, compared to more than 72,000 overdose deaths reported in the preliminary data for 2017.

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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 first drop since 1990. The steepest declines occurred primarily in areas that have been hit hardest by the opioid crisis, such as Ohio, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Alaska.

Though overdoses on prescription painkillers had been the primary causes of drug-related deaths since 1990, heroin, followed by fentanyl, overcame them in 2015. Meanwhile, cocaine and methamphetamine overdoses are on the rise. Azar said the Trump administration has enacted wide-reaching policies to try to stem the tide of opioid overdose-related deaths. More

“Lives are being saved, and we’re beginning to win the fight against this crisis,” Azar said in a statement, noting that the number of patients receiving medication-assisted treatment has increased, distribution of overdose-reversing drugs is up and nationwide opioid prescriptions are down.

“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,” he said. “This crisis developed over two decades and it will not be solved overnight.”

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