Boom in overdose-reversing drug is tied to fewer drug deaths

NEW YORK (AP) — Prescriptions of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone are soaring, and experts say that could be a reason overdose deaths have stopped rising for the first time in nearly three decades.

The number of naloxone prescriptions dispensed by U.S. retail pharmacies doubled from 2017 to last year, to more than half a million. Health officials reported the numbers Tuesday.

The report looks at prescriptions from more than 50,000 retail pharmacies across the country. It did not look at naloxone distributed by community organizations or used by emergency responders.

The United States is in the midst of the deadliest drug overdose epidemic in its history. About 68,000 Americans died of overdoses last year, according to preliminary government statistics reported last month.

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