Cuyahoga County drug overdose deaths down in 2018

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CLEVELAND– Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson says drug overdose deaths have decreased in county for the first time in nearly a decade.

There were at least 560 overdose deaths in 2018. That’s a 23 percent decrease from 2017.

“This is a gratifying development after so many years of effort on the part of many people. While all of our investigations are not finalized, it has become clear that 2018 will represent a step in the right direction with a decline in drug fatalities in our county,” Gilson said. “We are by no means back to where we were before this crisis started and these numbers, while encouraging, really indicate we need to strenuously continue our efforts.”

Gilson was joined at the news conference Friday morning by Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman.

Officials credited the availability of naloxone, treatment and recovery services, prevention education and declining opioid prescriptions for the decrease.

Other trends in 2018:

  • 560 total drug Overdose deaths (includes prescription drugs) (727 in 2017)
  • 440 opioid-related Deaths (includes prescription drugs) (556 in 2017)
  • 404 Fentanyl-related deaths (492 in 2017)
  • 255 cocaine-related deaths (300 in 2017)
  • 153 heroin-related deaths (240 in 2017)
  • 24 Carfentanil-related deaths (191 in 2017)

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