The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday provided provisional statistics suggesting that overdose fatalities likely decreased for the first time in three decades in 2018.
Health and Human Companies and products Secretary Alex Azar said this changed into all of the device down to a decline in deaths linked to opioids. Those decreases were offset somewhat by continuing increases in deaths involving fentanyl, cocaine and stimulants like methamphetamines. Cocaine was involved in a predicted 15,700 overdoses in 2018, up from about 15,000 in 2017, while psychostimulants were involved in a predicted 13,000 deaths in 2018, up from about 10,800 in 2017. That translates to an approximately 5% reduction in overdose deaths nationwide-a small but significant step toward curbing the deadly effects of the nation's substance abuse crisis.
Any leveling off - or decline - in overdose deaths is good news, but the overdose death rate is still about seven times higher than it was a generation ago.
"Lives are being saved, and we're beginning to win the fight against this crisis", Mr Azar's statement said, praising efforts by the Trump administration and community efforts across the U.S. for the shift. Overdose deaths often involve more than one drug. The CDC is expected to report more complete data later this year.
The current overdose epidemic has killed more people than any other in US history, and it had been on a soaring trajectory.
Every year since 2010, drug overdose deaths have set a new record.
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Consultants in part blame the overprescription of highly effective and addictive painkillers for the epidemic.
Gradually, many turned to cheaper street drugs such as heroin and fentanyl.
The drop in prescription opioid overdose deaths nearly certainly follows from the reduction in the supply of prescription opioids-indeed, subtracting prescription overdose deaths that also involve fentanyl reveals that the number of "prescription-only" deaths has been falling in line with prescription rates since 2012.
US drug overdose deaths appear to gone down for the first time in almost three decades, according to preliminary data Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a first sign that the devastating opioid abuse crisis may be cresting.
Haffajee and other researchers are trying to figure out what measures are most responsible for the slight improvement. The CDC added that in counties where opioid pain killer prescriptions were high also reported a higher overdose related deaths. Narcan is a nasal spray version of naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids in an emergency situation.
"It's fantastic that we have fewer deaths, don't get me wrong", she said.