Opioid overdose deaths

U.S. drug overdose deaths fell last year

Note: 2018 data is provisional; Data: Centers for Disease Control; Chart: Axios Visuals

Fewer Americans died from drug overdoses last year than the year before. It's the first time that number has gone down in almost 30 years.

Yes, but: This progress is both fragile and modest. Overdose deaths fell by about 5% last year, according to provisional data from the federal government. But overdose deaths rose by roughly 316% between 1999 and 2017. There's still a long way to go, and more than 68,000 Americans still died of overdoses last year.

Critical opioid funding is running out

Somebody preparing to take opioids
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The opioid crisis seems to finally be slowing down, but some treatment centers say that fragile progress could slip away if Congress doesn't step in to renew a critical funding stream that's quickly running dry.

The big picture: Congress and the Trump administration signed off in 2017 on a $3.3 billion grant program to helped bolster access to treatment. But that money is beginning to run out, The New York Times' Abby Goodnough reports.