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U.S. overdose deaths decline for first time since 2018; Florida deaths down 8.5%

Provisional data from the CDC shows there were an estimated 107,543 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2023, a 3% decrease from the 111,029 estimated deaths in 2022.
Posted at 6:20 PM, May 28, 2024

Fewer people died a drug overdose last year compared to 2022, marking the first decrease in deaths since 2018.

Provisional data from the CDC shows there were an estimated 107,543 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2023, a 3% decrease from the 111,029 estimated deaths in 2022.

Florida saw an 8.5% drop in deaths.

St Matthews House Brandon
Senior Reporter Ryan Kruger talks with Ben Bridges, V.P. of Programs with St. Matthew’s House about fentanyl and how it's changed the drug addiction landscape.

“While we see hope there in that decrease, it’s a reminder that there’s still significant work that needs to happen,” said Ben Bridges, V.P. of Programs with St. Matthew’s House, a Collier County based charity that runs a year-long recovery program, Justin and Jill’s Place.

Bridges believes increased awareness about the dangers of illicit fentanyl has helped the decrease.

Narcan, an overdose reversal medication, is now widely available.

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Narcan, which helps reverse a fentanyl overdose has saved countless lives and is widely available to Americans and first-responders most often called in to help.

And fentanyl test strips, once considered drug paraphernalia, are now considered safety measures.

“I DIDN’T WANT TO GET CLEAN.”

Lindsay Whitten is alive today because of Narcan, administered to her by her drug dealer during her last overdose.

But after a nearly two decade battle with addiction, Whitten is now two years sober. 

“There’s been so many instances where I almost died yet I’m still here,” said Whitten.

Fentanyl overdose survivor Lindsay Whitten St Matthews House narcan
Lindsay Whitten overdosed 11 times in her life, almost all of them because of fentanyl. Whitten remembers her last overdose and said her drug dealer administered Narcan to save her life. Whitten completed her recovery at Jill's Place, run by St. Matthews House in Naples, and has been sober for 2 years.

After her last arrest in 2021, Whitten decided to get clean.

She entered the yearlong program at Jill’s Place, part of St. Matthew’s House.

“I can tell you, I never thought I would be where I’m at today,” Whitten said.

More than 100,000 people died from overdosing on drugs in 2023. That is more than car crashes and gun violence combined.