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Study: Fatal Drug Overdoses Declined in 2018 for the First Time in Decades

Needles used for shooting heroin and other opioids and other drug paraphernalia in a park in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, Pa., in 2017. (Charles Mostoller/Reuters)

Fatal drug overdoses declined last year for the first time in decades, the Trump administration announced Wednesday.

Overdoses resulting in death dropped 5.1 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The latest provisional data on overdose deaths show that America’s united efforts to curb opioid use disorder and addiction are working,” read a statement from Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

Many of the states devastated by the opioid crisis — including West Virginia, Ohio, Alaska, Maine, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire —  saw large decreases in overdose deaths.

“Lives are being saved, and we’re beginning to win the fight against this crisis,” Azar said. “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.”

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