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Drug Overdoses Decline

More than 107,000 people in the US died of a drug-related overdose last year, according to data released yesterday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The preliminary tally represents the first drop in drug-related deaths since 2018 and a 3% drop from 2022. The CDC data did not reveal the cause of the overall decline.

The biggest reduction was in opioid-related deaths—those involving fentanyl, heroin, or painkillers. However, those drugs still drove the vast majority of overdoses, involved in three-quarters of the deaths. Meanwhile, deaths from methamphetamine and cocaine increased by 2% and 5%, respectively. While most states saw a reduction in deaths, Alaska, Washington, and Oregon—which this year recriminalized drug possession—saw an increase of at least 27%.

Separately, Walgreens yesterday announced that it will sell a nasal spray version of overdose reversal medication naloxone for $34.99. Narcan, the patented form of naloxone, became available for over-the-counter use in September 2023.

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