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PITTSBURGH (AP) – Federal prosecutors say overdose deaths are down sharply in western Pennsylvania, a positive development in fighting the opioid epidemic.

U.S. Attorney Scott Brady in Pittsburgh said Friday that overdose deaths fell 43 percent in 2018 across his 25-county area.

Opioids account for the lion’s share of fatal overdoses in the region Brady’s office covers.

The decline includes a 47 percent drop compared to 2017 in populous Allegheny County, which includes the city of Pittsburgh.

Brady credits a new narcotics and organized crime section in his office, funding for more prosecutors, a focus on cyber investigations and prosecutions of 25 health care professionals for illegal drug distribution.

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