ALBANY — Opioid overdose deaths have declined for the first time in a decade among New Yorkers outside of New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.
The Democrat said preliminary figures from the state Department of Health show opioid fatalities dropped 15.9%—from 2,170 in 2017 to 1,824 in 2018. Hospitalizations for opioid overdoses fell 7.1% to 3,029 in 2018.
New York City health officials reported in August that overdose deaths in the city declined slightly from 2017 to 2018 after years of alarming increases. There were 1,444 fatal overdoses citywide last year, down 2.6% from 2017. The number of deaths had been rising since 2010, when there were 541. City officials said about 80% of drug overdoses involved opioids such as heroin and fentanyl.
The downturn reflects what appears to be a national trend: The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in July that preliminary numbers show overdose deaths last year likely fell for the first time in nearly three decades.
Experts have said a surge in distribution of overdose-reversing naloxone kits could be a reason that deadly overdoses have stopped rising nationally.
Cuomo attributed New York state’s decline in overdoses to initiatives recommended by the Heroin and Opioid Task Force that he convened in 2016. The task force proposed services such as recovery centers, expanded peer services, mobile treatment and 24/7 open access centers, which have been established in numerous communities.