Overdose deaths drop by 30 percent in southern Indiana

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Preliminary statistics show a 30 percent decline in overdose deaths last year in a southern Indiana county, marking the first dip in at least three years.

The Clark County Health Department is waiting on final numbers but says tests so far show 60 drug-related deaths in 2017. That compares to 90 in 2016. There were 55 overdose deaths in 2015, up from 53 in 2014.

Dr. Kevin Burke is a member of Clark County CARES, a community group providing support and seeking solutions to the opioid crisis.

He tells the News and Tribune the drop is likely due to increased use of an opioid-overdose antidote, community education and a needle exchange program that also provides information on treatment options.

County officials also plan to soon launch an overdose notification system and an “addiction transition” program in emergency rooms.