(WBNG) -- Opioid deaths among people in New York State has decreased for the first time since 2009, Governor Cuomo announced Monday.
The governor's office says opioid overdose deaths among New York State residents, outside New York City, declined 15.9 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. His office says this is the first decrease the state saw in opioid deaths in 10 years.
Governor Cuomo said called the decrease an "important milestone."
"New York has taken the most aggressive actions to combat the opioid crisis of any other state in the country, the opioid epidemic continues to devastate too many families and we will not rest until we put an end to it once and for all," Cuomo said.
In Broome County, deaths have been more than halved since record highs in 2016. County health officials say better communication has been a big factor in the decrease.
"I think ten years ago this was a fairly new… crisis in our community where people weren't talking about this as much and we really encourage people to talk more about substance use disorders because we know they don't discriminate," said Marissa Knapp, the county opioid overdose prevention coordinator.
Cuomo's office says the Heroin and Opioid Task Force was instrumental to the reduction of deaths.