Missouri sees decline in opioid deaths

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FILE – This undated file photo provided by the U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah and introduced as evidence at a trial shows fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation. Accidental overdoses contribute to 90 percent of all U.S. opioid-related deaths. Rising use of illicitly manufactured and highly potent synthetic opioids including fentanyl has likely contributed to the unintentional death rate, which surged nine-fold between 2000 and 2017, the study found. (U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah via AP, File)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — New data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services shows that opioid overdose deaths decreased last year when compared to 2018.

The state health department said Friday that the 3.4% decrease was the first time since 2015 that Missouri experienced a decrease in opioid overdose deaths.

Deaths from overdoses have been rising steadily, including a 19% increase in 2018, when 1,132 deaths statewide were blamed on opioid overdoses.

That number dropped to 1,094 last year — 224 from heroin, and 870 from other opioids, predominantly fentanyl.

Despite the overall decrease in deaths, overdose deaths among Black men rose 15%.

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