North Carolina officials cite drop in opioid overdose deaths

Updated: Aug. 30, 2019 at 6:28 AM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Health officials in North Carolina say the number of unintentional opioid-related overdose deaths among North Carolina residents has fallen for the first time in five years.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says unintentional opioid-related overdose deaths fell by 5% in 2018, compared to a 34% increase in deaths in 2017. The figures are consistent with the falling number of emergency department visits for opioid-related overdoses, which declined nearly 10% from 2017 to 2018.

The statistics were announced on Thursday by Gov. Roy Cooper’s office.

While the numbers have fallen for prescription opioids, the data shows most deaths and emergency department visits stem from illicit opioids.

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