According to U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar, the number of overdose deaths in the country is beginning to level off.
“We are so far from the end of the epidemic, but we are perhaps at the end of the beginning,” Azar said in remarks prepared for a health care event in Washington. Fighting the opioid epidemic in the U.S. has been a bipartisan campaign, with a bill providing funding for treatment being passed under President Obama, and two more being passed in President Trump’s tenure.
More than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses last year, according to preliminary numbers released by the CDC. This represents a 10% increase from the previous year. It is important to note that Azar says the rate of deaths appear to be slowing down, but increases are continuing.