By Associated Press - Tuesday, October 2, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - State leaders say heroin overdose deaths declined in Utah in 2017 for the first time in seven years.

Data released Monday by state agencies shows that opioid-related overdose deaths decreased last year by almost 20 percent.

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox says fatal overdoses specifically connected to heroin in 2017 decreased by nearly 15 percent from 2016, according to the state’s calculations.

Cox says fatal overdoses stemming from prescription opioids decreased for the third consecutive year in 2017, dropping by 16 percent.

Utah Public Safety says Utah is one of nine states seeing a decrease in heroin- and opioid-related deaths.

Cox says the state will use a new software to track doctors’ prescribing behaviors in real time so health and law enforcement officials can see where opioid deaths are “clustering”.

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