CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) -- St. Louis County officials say heroin deaths declined significantly in the last year.
County police chief Tim Fitch says 56 heroin deaths have been reported so far this year. At the same time last year, the county had 76 heroin deaths.
Officials say efforts to persuade addicts to turn in their dealers and educating teenagers about the dangers of heroin helped reduce number of the overdose deaths.
The worst year was in 2010, when 91 people in the county died of heroin overdoses.
Fitch says the average age of those who overdosed this year was 40 to 45.
But he says the drug is still a danger to the young, so an educational effort is being expanded from county high schools to middle schools.