Overdose deaths decrease for 1st time in 3 decades

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Overdose-related deaths have fallen for the first time since 1990, according to preliminary CDC data cited by The New York Times.

The CDC reported 68,557 fatal drug overdoses in 2018, marking a 5.1 percent decrease from the year prior.

The decrease is linked to fewer deaths from prescription opioids, according to the agency. However, the country is still facing an extremely high overdose death rate fueled by an increasing amount of fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine overdoses.

"While the declining trend of overdose deaths is an encouraging sign, by no means have we declared victory against the epidemic or addiction in general," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a July 17 statement. "This crisis developed over two decades and it will not be solved overnight."

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