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Report: Long Island May Have Broken Opioid Overdose Death Record Last Year

MELVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A new report details that Long Island likely broke its record for number of people who died from opioid overdoses.

As WCBS 880's Mike Smeltz reported Sunday, it is projected that between Nassau and Suffolk counties, at least 600 people died in 2017 due to opioid overdose.

That is a higher number than the record set in 2016, when 555 people died.

But drug treatment advocates speaking with Newsday said the figure may in fact be a sign we are heading in the right direction.

For years, there had been huge jumps – double-digit percentage increases in opioid overdose deaths -- not only on Long Island, but throughout the country.

The fact that the increase from 2016 to 2017 is smaller suggests that maybe officials, law enforcement and treatment facilities are finally getting a handle on the opioid crisis.

Going forward, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a proposal that would put a surcharge on opioid prescriptions -- raising hundreds of millions of dollars and using that money on anti-addiction and drug treatment programs.

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