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Drug Overdose Rates May Be Going Down In The Region But Experts Are Hesitant To Celebrate

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The CDC predicts death rates based on previous year's as mortality data comes in from death investigations nationwide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported record drug overdose numbers in 2017, but a handful of states saw a decrease last year including here in the Mountain West.

Each month the CDC puts out an updated snapshot of drug deaths from the previous year. A high percentage of those are related to opioids.

Preliminary data showed that the number of drug deaths in all of the Mountain West, except for Colorado, either went down or were static.

Bob Anderson is with the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

“This could be just a little hiccup or kind of a stalling of the increase,” Anderson said.

Wyoming had a dramatic reduction — 33 percent fewer overdose deaths compared to the year before. But Kim Deti with the Wyoming Department of Health is urging caution about that change.

“We don’t have a full explanation for a one year drop. And we don’t want to read too much into that either,” she said.

Deti says Wyoming’s small population can make changes look bigger than those in more populous states and she said she’s seen big swings like this before.

Still, Deti added there have been positive changes in Wyoming including increased access to the drug overdose medication naloxone.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.


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