CLEVELAND — Overdose numbers across Cuyahoga County fell in 2018, according to preliminary data from Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson.

Gilson said there were 560 overdose deaths within the county last year, a significant drop compared to the 727 recorded in 2017. 

The total overdose rate fell 23 percent, according to Gilson.

Of those deaths, 153 were heroin related, a 36 percent decrease over the year, and 255 were cocaine related, a 15 percent decrease. That marks the lowest heroin death total since 2012.

Gilson also said carfentanil has "almost vanished" from the area. There were 24 carfentanil related deaths in 2018, an 87 percent decrease. 

Despite saying he feels the county is heading in the right direction, Gilson noted there is still much work to be done.

"This is not the right time to take our foot off the gas petal," he said.

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The county also recently announced that MetroHealth will assume full health care programs within the county jails and that more addiction services will be provided to inmates. 

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