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Deadly drug overdoses in NYC declined 3% in 2018 after 7 years of increases


Deadly drug overdoses in New York City have declined for the first time since 2010 except for among Latino New Yorkers, where the rate of deadly overdoses went up by 5%, from 2017 to last year. (DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Deadly drug overdoses in New York have declined for the first time since 2010, according to a new report from the city Health Department.

There were 1,444 deaths in 2018, 38 fewer than the year before — a 3% drop that comes after seven straight years of increases, the Health Department said. Overdose deaths dropped 13% among black New Yorkers and declined 5% among whites, though the rate of deadly overdoses among Latino New Yorkers went up 5% from 2017 to 2018.

The decline in the city was in keeping with nationwide trends. Last year saw U.S. overdose deaths fall for the first time in almost 20 years, federal officials said in July.

“While this is positive news that we are bending the curve, it is not a moment of celebration and there is more work to be done,” Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot told reporters Monday.

The powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl was found in nearly two thirds of deadly overdoses.

The first quarter of 2019 saw 331 overdose deaths, down 45 from the same period last year.