The number of Minnesotans who died from opioid overdoses decreased in 2018. It’s the first time in nearly a decade that the number has gone down. There were 331 opioid overdose deaths last year, down from 422 in 2017, according to preliminary data released today by the state Health Department. Commissioner Jan Malcolm says the decline is due, in part, to widespread distribution of the opioid overdose antidote naloxone. The number of overdose deaths involving prescription opioids also fell, dropping to 134 last year– after state officials started to crack down on doctors who over-prescribe them. Malcolm says it’s concerning, however, that for the first time ever, synthetic opioids were linked to more overdose deaths than prescription painkillers. Synthetic drugs were involved in 195 deaths last year, 184 of those involving fentanyl.
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