BOSTON (AP) — A state panel says the number of emergency department visits by people with opioid-related issues dropped by nearly 6% in Massachusetts from 2016 to 2017.

The report released Wednesday by the Health Policy Commission is based on a state database of hospital discharges up to 2017, the most recent year available.

READ MORE: Unvaccinated State Workers Could Lose Jobs With Vaccine Mandate Now In Effect

The commission analyzed emergency department visits, and inpatient hospital stays, for people who have an “opioid-related diagnosis,” such as opioid dependence, misuse, or overdose.

Nearly 68,000 opioid-related hospital visits occurred in 2017, a little more than 2% of all discharges.

READ MORE: Lawrence High School Teachers Will Rally Before Class To Protest Spike In Violence

The drop came after years of increases.

David Seltz, the commission’s executive director, tells The Boston Globe the report shows that “Massachusetts is starting to make some progress in reducing the impact of the opioid epidemic.”

MORE NEWS: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments

(© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)