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Drug overdose deaths declined in northwestern Indiana last year

Narcan, the brand name for naloxone hydrochloride, is used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. | AP file photo

Narcan, the brand name for naloxone hydrochloride, is used to reverse the effects of opioid overdoses. | AP file photo

Drug overdose deaths declined last year in northwestern Indiana after setting a record in 2017.

Authorities are cautiously optimistic that the opioid epidemic is slowing down. Former Porter County Coroner Chuck Harris, who this year became the county’s recorder, tells The (Northwest Indiana) Times : “I would like to hope … that we have reached the peak.

County coroners say Lake County had 152 overdose deaths last year, Porter County had 46 and LaPorte had 17, compared with 196, 50 and 26, respectively, in 2017. That’s a nearly 20 percent decline from 268 to 215 across the region.

The Times reports experts attribute the fall to the widespread use of the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, an increase in treatment availability and more awareness about the crisis, among other reasons.