The tree of life at the Harm Reduction Action Center is dedicated to those who have survived an overdose. (Marvin Anani, Special to The Colorado Sun)

COLORADO SPRINGS — The number of drug overdose deaths in Colorado decreased slightly last year but remains high.

The Gazette reports that figures from the state Department of Public Health and Environment show 974 people died from drug overdoses last year, 38 fewer deaths than in 2017.

The overdose deaths last year marked the first decline since 2012, but the number was still the second highest on the state’s record.

MORE: Colorado’s new U.S. attorney wants law enforcement to treat overdose deaths as homicides as he focuses on opioids

The state recorded 349 deaths from prescription painkillers, dropping by 24 from the previous year.

The executive director of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, Rob Valuck, says the work in persuading doctors to prescribe fewer opioids appears to be paying off, but too many people are still dying from the painkillers.