Overdose deaths in Suffolk decreased by 25% from 2018 to 2019

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New data released in a 127-page report from Suffolk's Heroin and Opiate Epidemic Advisory Panel is showing a projected 25% decrease in overdose deaths from 2018 to 2019.

While Suffolk officials say the numbers are a significant victory in the battle against opioids, experts say many Long Islanders are still taking drugs.

Over the same time, numbers from Suffolk police show that non-fatal heroin overdoses only dropped by 3% and non-fatal overdoses of all drugs stayed virtually the same — only going down by 1%

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Experts say the decrease in deaths points to the effectiveness of first responders and the overdose antidote Narcan.

Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, of the Family and Children Association, says that residents may be moving on from opiates to other drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines.

“We've all gone headlong into the fight against opioids, maybe [we’re] missing the boat when it comes to some of the other drugs,” says Dr. Reynolds.

Experts say they plan to adjust their message in 2020 to focus on all drugs, as well as treating the root causes of drug use, including mental health disorders.

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