Opioid-related overdose deaths in Alaska down, data suggests

    Juneau, Alaska (AP) - Preliminary numbers released by the state show the number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Alaska fell between 2017 and 2018.

    Andy Jones with Alaska's health department told lawmakers Thursday this suggests that steps being taken to address opioid abuse are working. But he said there is more work to do.

    The preliminary data shows there were 100 opioid-related overdose deaths in Alaska in 2017 and 58 last year.

    The state says the total cost associated with its response to opioid abuse was $210.9 million over that span. That includes federal funds and substance abuse treatment and recovery grants.

    Jones says agencies in their responses need to look more broadly at more than one substance.

    He says alcohol remains the biggest problem in Alaska "by far."

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