Erie County says there is light at the end of the tunnel of the ongoing opioid crisis in Western New York.
The Erie County Medical Examiner's office has confirmed 233 opioid overdose fatalities for 2017. Another 35 cases are still pending confirmation. In 2016, 201 people died of an overdose in Erie County.
According to the Health Department, Fentanyl and heroin-related opioids were found in nearly 80% of fatalities.
The decline in Erie County brings its numbers lower than New York State and the region.
The most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevetion report noted overdose fatality rates in New York State increased 7.7% from July 2016 - July 2017. Similar results were seen around the Northeastern U.S. in the same period.
The latest data from Erie County shows among the 2017 opioid overdose deaths, 84% were white and 76% were male. The 20-39 age group accounted for 57% of the deaths.