Minnesota sees drop in drug overdose deaths in 2018

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The number of drug overdose deaths dropped in Minnesota in 2018.  

Preliminary statewide data released Tuesday showed the number of overdose deaths dropped 17 percent, from 733 in 2017 to 607 in 2018.  

Health officials say while the numbers are promising, overdose rates remain at historic highs and work still needs to be done to prevent and treat substance abuse. 

Heroin deaths and deaths involving prescription opioids decreased by 23 and 32 percent, respectively, but deaths related to synthetic opioids increased. The vast majority of synthetic opioid deaths involved fentanyl. 

“It’s encouraging to see this turn-around in the trend in 2018 as Minnesota has implemented a broad range of efforts to prevent opioid misuse and combat the overdose crisis,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said in a statement. 

Malcolm emphasized there is still work to be done to end the opioid crisis and “mitigate its effects.” 
The data released the report is preliminary. The state Department of Health will release a final report this fall.