For the first time in decades, the number of drug overdose deaths may be declining. The Wall Street Journal reports preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the number of people who died from a drug overdose could drop by about 3,000.
There were 72,300 deaths reported in 2017 while the data suggests that there were 69,100 deaths in 2018.
The CDC says that is the case, it would be the first time since 1990 that the number of drug overdose deaths has been lower than the year before. In 1990, 8,400 people died as a result of an overdose.
The number of deaths continued to rise and has spiked in recent years. Officials are optimistic about the data, but caution that more work is needed to put an end to the opioid epidemic that has been ravaging the nation.
Public health officials credit some of the declines on the expanding use of Narcan, which can save the life of a person who is overdosing.
Photo: Getty Images