BOSTON - The number of opioid-related overdose deaths in Massachusetts fell an estimated 8.3 percent from 2016 to 2017, marking the first year-over-year decline in several years, the Department of Public Health announced Wednesday.

A total of 1,977 people died of estimated or confirmed opioid overdoses in 2017, for 178 fewer deaths than the 2,155 logged the previous year. From 2015 to 2016, the opioid overdose death rate increased 22 percent.

"It is a promising trend that for the first time last year we saw overdose deaths actually decrease," Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said in a statement. "Today's report is a welcome development, however, there is so much more work to do to increase access to treatment - particularly for individuals who are Hispanic."

Since 2013, there has been an increasing trend both in the percentage of opioid-related emergency medical service calls and in EMS calls involving administration of the overdose reversal drug naloxone, according to the DPH data released Wednesday. - Katie Lannan/SHNS

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