BOSTON (AP) - State health officials say deaths related to opioid overdoses in Massachusetts are on the decline.
A quarterly report issued Tuesday by the state Department of Public Health estimates 5 percent fewer opioid-related deaths during the first three months of 2018, as compared to the same period a year ago.
For all of 2017, the state reported 2,016 confirmed or estimated deaths, 133 less than in all of 2016.
The report also points to an ongoing decline in prescriptions written by doctors for opioid-based medications.
About 265,000 patients received prescriptions for federally controlled opioids in the first three months of 2018, compared to more than 390,000 in the first quarter of 2015.
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker says those numbers reflect the success of a prescription monitoring program implemented by the state.
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